How To Taste An Oyster

With our upcoming Shuck 'N Shindig, we thought we'd share with you some tips on how to taste an oyster.

Just like wine tastings, oysters have their own unique flavor notations depending on their origination & habitat. This flavor is called their "merroir".

Here's a quick rundown on how to evaluate an oyster's taste.

Taste/Flavor/Texture Evaluation Terms

Before you dive in to your oyster tasting, here are some terms that are used to describe an oyster's taste.

Salinity or Brininess- This is the amount of "salty" taste the oyster has. This taste is directly related to the oyster's habitat. Oysters that are closer to the Bay will always tend to have a saltier taste, while those that are further up the river where the water is fresher won't carry as much salinity.

Sweetness- when tasting an oyster, you can comment on how much sweetness the oyster has, as well the "type" of sweetness.

Texture- some textures used to describe an oyster during a tasting can be clean, fatty, tender, thin.

Finish- the flavor that lingers after eating the oyster is a large part of it's overall flavor. The finish can sometimes be described with words like buttery, savory, earthy, woody, mineral, grassy.

Okay, that's a good start.

Now, on to the Dos & Don'ts

DON'T pour out the oyster's liquor. This is one of the key elements to an oyster's taste & should be tasted along with the meat.

DO slurp! Slurping is quite alright in the manners department when it comes to oyster tasting!

DON'T put any condiments on the first oyster. Condiments tend to hide the natural flavor of the oyster, and it's important to taste the first one completely bare. Then feel free to add cocktail, mignonette, or lemon juice. Whatever you fancy.