Food

East coast oysters

Oysters

Canada, the second largest country, with the longest shoreline of any sovereign state, produces significant amounts of oysters. Most are cultivated along the coastlines of P E I (Prince Edward Island), N B (New Brunswick), and N S (Nova Scotia).

The kumumato, Belon, portguese, virginia, bras d’or and others are cultivated in specially designed floating bags, with varying densities pending on size. The counts are adjusted according to size desired to ensure optimal nutrition, oxygen and metabolic gas levels. The constant motion, careful daily maintenance, and low oyster densities per container help shape oysters and their shell.

East coast oysters are round or oblong, meaty, and clean, worthy of oyster connoisseurs attention. Their briny taste and firm texture are appealing, and can complement favourably with French oysters from Arcachon in Bordeaux and Brittany.

Canadian oyster quality is high, as north Atlantic waters are relatively pollution-free, and government agencies control water quality constantly and carefully.

Now oyster lovers in Toronto can enjoy the fruit of the codl Atlantic waters 24 hours after harvest, thanks to much improved transportation and distribution networks.

Once harvested, sorted, and packaged, specially equipped refrigerated trucks rush from N.B, P. E. I. or N.S. to Toronto and deliver their precious living cargo. Restaurants receive their orders an hour later from the warehouse.

Living oysters, if properly stored at (0 –4 C or 31 to 39 F) can last up to two weeks. Store oysters covered with a wet cloth in the coldest port of your refrigerator, with the cupped side on the bottom.

Oysters must breathe and therefore must never be kept in plastic bags or containers.

It is best to shuck oysters just before eating. Serve with a few drops of lemon juice. Cocktail sauce is for amateurs who really dislike the briny taste of oysters and drown it in the condiment.

The best wine for oysters is a Chablis of good quality or dry Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, or Ontario.

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