Sep 13, 2010

Whitstable's Shuckable Oysters and Other Fresh Views

Whitstable ~ boat
Before we got blown into the pub by the fierce wind and biting rain, we strolled along the pretty seafront and I sucked back a shucked raw oyster drenched in lemon juice and tabasco sauce from a harbour front seafood stall. You can't get fresher and more delicious than this! Judging from the overflow of shells in these trays, I'm not the only one who appreciates raw oysters!
Whitstable ~ Oyster shells recycling on the beach
Whitstable, a seaside town in northeast Kent, in the southeast of England, is famous for its oysters, which have been collected in the area since Roman times. The town itself dates back to before the writing of the Domesday Book, which was a great survey of 'who owned what' in England, completed in 1086 for the Norman King, William the Conqueror, shortly after he crushed the Anglo Saxons and took the English crown.
Whitstable ~ fishing boats in the harbour
(Fishing boats in the harbour)
Whitstable ~ converted fisherman's huts
(Old fisherman's huts now converted into deluxe seaside huts)

Unfortunately for me bad weather drove me indoors and so I got a very brief view indeed. I also had a terrible cold at the time and lacked the strength to push on when the sun finally did come out again. All this means is that I will have to return another day to suck back at my leisure more oysters and sample more fresh seafood from the outdoor stalls.

For my fellow oyster lovers, Whitstable holds an annual Oyster Festival around July 25th to celebrate the feast day of St James of Compostella (the patron saint of oysters). It was originally a ’Holy Day’ so the festival symbolically recreates the ‘Landing of the Oysters’, with Whitstable Sea Scouts bringing oysters ashore for a formal Blessing by clergy before being presented to the Lord Mayor. These blessed oysters are then passed along to inns and restaurants as part of the vibrant Oyster Parade as it travels through the town centre. Sounds like good fun.


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