Monday, 13 April 2009

An Oyster Frenzy


A friend from France has brought me some oysters, said Mauri on the telephone, why don't you come around and we'll have a chat about Vinitaly and how you can help me sell my wines in Inghilterra. I went round like a shot. I thought there might be a dozen oysters in the frame but the Froggie had bought a barrel full. Now I am not one for original thoughts but one of the few I have had is that the Mediterranean is, frankly, a filthy, stinking, open sewer. I mean, it is effectively the repository for all the, er, waste products spewed out by (clockwise) Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey etc etc. My host country chucks whatever it can get away with into the Med, so just imagine all those charming discharges from some of the north African countries. And the water never changes, it just sort of swills around as if in a gentle pre-wash cycle. Hardly any tides either (interestingly, Italian school children can't quite understand High Tides and Low Tides, just as they cannot understand how Britain can exist without identity cards, but that's for another post). Anyway, these oysters were from the Cote d'Azur and if the Ron Combo School of Maritime Hygiene were to be correct I should still be in hospital. However, they were quite excellent. We knocked 'em off with a good bottle of Prosecco, an extremely disappointing magnum of NV Laurent Perrier and a superb De Ferrari fizzer from Trento. My zinc levels went through the roof. Yum yum.

6 comments:

Affer said...

Now they look really superb! How many did you eat? I have often found that only the first five seem to work..........and I think the French were just boasting when they called them 'huitres".

Peter Ashley said...

Oysters and I have a love / hate relationship. Love as in shovelling down a dozen in Orford, and hate as in barking them all back up in an echoing wood near Butley. Settled down now, and my eleven year old has them sent down by post from Loch Fyne for his birthday in September. But Cote D'Azur? Don't go too far from a large lavatory bowl I say.

Diplomat said...

Not sure about oysters from the Med - love 'em elsewhere. Only one nasty incident - wolfed a basket full one day and the last one was initially rejected by my taste buds, obviously dedected (sub-consciously through the champagne) a problem - despite the warnings I forced this chap down and within a minute I was feeling very ropey. Obviously a dud one as the previous couple of dozen had been fine. To avoid wasting the lot I crammed in a huge slice of home made fruit cake to act as a bung. Quite yummy cake too and deserved more respect - did the job though and the whole lot remained on the inside. Lost twenty quid on the horses though.

Prof. Eve Yurguts-Oeppe said...

I am not sure how it works in the Mediterranean, but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long required shellfish producers to use fecal coliforms as indicators of contamination within harvesting waters and oysters, it having been concluded that fecal coliforms are a sufficient indicator of other bacterial pathogens - eg Salmonella spp. were not present in the absence of fecal coliforms. However, other studies have recently indicated that Salmonella could be present in oysters that did not contain fecal coliforms. The FDA requires that U.S. states test harvesting waters six times per year for the presence of F.C.s and, if detected above the most probable number (MPN) of 230/g of oyster or 230/ml of water sample, that waters be closed to harvesting. Currently, there are no requirements for U.S. states to test harvesting waters for the presence of human pathogens, such as Salmonella spp. Vinogirl will, I am sure, confirm this.

Peter Ashley said...

I think it's good to throw up after eating something dodgy. Cleanses the system, makes room for more.

Peter Ashley said...

Actually, looking at your picture again, it looks like someone's already been sick in that bowl down in the right hand corner.