VALENTINE’S DAY: A PERFECT TIME FOR (OYSTER) LOVERS
When Valentine’s Day comes around it’s definitely oyster time! But did you know about the variety of oysters which are available in our restaurants? We hope this brief guide to oysters will tempt you to visit us this Valentine’s season to sample and experience our delicious oysters as part of a romantic meal with your loved one.
The oysters we serve are supplied by the original Loch Fyne Oysters company located on the shores of Loch Fyne in Argyll on the west coast of Scotland.
Loch Fyne Oysters was founded in 1978 by Johnny Noble and Andy Lane, and today the company’s oysters are sold all over the world in top end hotels and restaurants. Due to the increased popularity of oysters, Loch Fyne Oysters works with partner growers, selecting from different farms throughout the year, to provide us with a variety oysters of the best quality which we are delighted to present on our menu.
The taste of an individual oyster very much reﬂects the environment in which it is grown. Here are some notes about the different oysters we serve, along with comments supplied by the oyster growers themselves.
The selection we feature changes throughout the year to give customers the opportunity to experience the variety of delicious oysters which Scotland offers.
1. Loch Fyne OystersLoch Fyne Oysters Ltd has been operating for forty years, initially selling their oysters from a small shack on the main West Highland road in Argyll before developing into UK and international markets. After 2 to 3 years of care and attention the oysters reach marketable size. Once harvested, oysters are transferred to our depuration facility at Cairndow, where each oyster is size graded and puriﬁed in ﬁltered natural seawater.
When ready, they are hand selected, packed and despatched live to our customers. Before being released for sale every single batch is rigorously health screened for maximum consumer conﬁdence.
Sweet and slightly woody in ﬂavour with the freshness of mountain spring water and mildly salty with a soft creamy texture.
2. Kyle of TongueKyle of Tongue Oysters was established quite recently. Located in a remote part of the north of Scotland on a sheltered sea loch with perfect growing conditions and tidal exchange, the farm uses traditional oyster bags and trestles.
Plump meat with a smooth yet delicate texture, with the saltiness of the rugged north coast and metallic overtones.
3. Arisaig EstateSituated on the coast near Arisaig in the North West Highlands. A good site for oyster farming, a relatively sheltered sea loch with a large exchange of clean quality sea water. The oyster farm now provides employment for three people in a remote rural location. This would not have been possible without the continuing support of our long-term customers like Loch Fyne Oysters.
A salty oyster, with a lingering sweetness and fresh aftertaste of the sea and ocean breeze.
4. Creran OystersCreran Oysters is a family run business located on the shores of Loch Creran in Argyll. These oysters are grown in mesh bags which are placed on metal trestles situated in the intertidal zone of the foreshore. With a strong focus on regular turning of the bags, grading and splitting, we produce a delicious tasting oyster with good yield and shape.
We have been fortunate to enjoy a close relationship with Loch Fyne Oysters during the 20 years we have been supplying them and hopefully this will continue!
A plump and meaty oyster with a briny ﬂavour with a cool and invigorating aftertaste.
5. Loch Na Keal OystersMore than twenty years ago we established our shellﬁsh farm on a sandy beach on the west side of the Isle of Mull primarily to produce Paciﬁc Oysters. As a small family business we make every effort to achieve a high quality end product which can be appreciated by our customers and we are pleased to contribute to Loch Fyne Oysters’ high standards.
A meaty oyster with a strong West Coast freshness and just a hint of sweetness to ﬁnish.
6. Isle of Barra OystersSituated on the most southerly inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides, the growing areas are characterised by beautiful white sandy beaches and stunning aquamarine seawater. Isle of Barra Oysters have very distinct small white shells and plump meats.
A fresh, clean ﬂavour with a exhilarating taste of the sea and a sweetness to ﬁnish.
7. Caledonian OystersCaledonian Oysters have been farming oysters since 1995 in Loch Creran, where the clean waters produce good quality oysters.
The owner’s son, Angus, is the current Scottish Oyster Shucking Champion. Recently he beat off strong competition from top chefs in a competition sponsored by Loch Fyne Oysters. This accolade entitled him to compete in the World Championships in Galway and the European Championship in Sweden.
An oyster with a strong ﬂoral, fruity ﬂavour and a plump meat.
*Oyster availability may differ by location.