R is for Oyster
Do you know the saying that you can only eat oysters in the months with an “r”? It’s an old story and there are different versions. We personally like the story of Louis XIV of France who loved oysters. Everyday the horse carriages went fully loaded with oysters from the coast of Brittany to Versailles. The road was long and in summertime it was very hard to keep the oysters cool. Because of this the quality decreased and the Royal family got sometimes sick. They made the decision to only eat oysters 8 months (“huit mois”) of the year. That’s why the French word for oyster is ’Huître’!
The American foodwriter M.F.K. Fischer has another opinion. She denies the pre-refrigerator explanation and states that it’s because of the season; most oysters reproduce when the water is warm. She says: “oysters, like all men, are somewhat weaker after they have done their best at reproducing”. This means that the oyster meat is less flavorful and has a more thin taste. So it’s more a question of quality.
Which explanation is right? We noticed that oysters that are shucked in the colder months have a more desirable lean, firm texture and bright briny flavor. So our favorite time of year is fall, like September untill December, when the oysters are really “plump and sweet”!