Did you know one Aquitaine is one of the major producers of oysters. The oysters of the Ile d’Oleron are L’indication géographique protégée (protected geographical indication, essentially high quality products) and the oyster spat (baby oysters) from the nearby Bassin d’Arcachon once populated the many of the oyster producers in France. While the Bassin may not be as large of a producer as it once was, but they still raise high quality oysters. One of my favorite places to visit on the coast are the ostréiculture cabins that offer platters of their oysters (and shrimp, pate) with local wines on benches while sitting in the summer sun, admiring the sparkling seaside. If you can’t make it there though, where can you try some oysters in Bordeaux?
Most locations in Bordeaux are offering oysters from the Medoc and Ile d’Oleron, but why you ask? The Bassin is susceptible to low salinity from large rains and the influx of fresh water runoff which can hurt the local oyster populations. In order to be able to supply fresh oysters year-round, many places buy further afeild in Aquitaine to ensure stockage. The great thing about enjoying oysters in Bordeaux is that you can also order dessert and coffee after your meal, in the cabanes (fisherman cabins) on the coast they are not licensed to sell anything but oysters (with shrimp, pate and wine).
How to choose which oysters to eat? I lean towards the smaller size (4). The higher the number, the smaller the oyster. After that, it will be up to your own personal taste. Oysters in the Bassin tend to be less saline than their more Northerly more oceanic counterparts. Clair, or clear, will tell you these oysters were finished in fresh water ponds after harvesting, to help the oyster reject sand and other particles but also to absorb the local waters ‘terroir’.
La Boite aux Huitres is located near to the Grand Theatre, serving Oleron and Medoc oysters Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sunday for lunch, and it can be booked online at https://www.thefork.fr/ which makes it very convenient / 38 Cr. du Chapeau Rouge, 33000 Bordeaux / +33 5 56 81 64 97 / https://boiteahuitres.com/
Le Cabane Cent Un is located in Chartrons they offer oysters from nearby Cap Ferret, but also other dishes incase your company is not as interested in oysters as you are. They also highlight local products like free range Gironde chicken and beer from brewery Alienor / book through the fork / 7 Rue Rode, 33000 Bordeaux / +33 6 50 78 62 82 / https://www.facebook.com/lacabane101/
The Capucins Market (Marche des Capucins) serves up local oysters from early morning until lunch from Tuesday-Sunday in this vibrant covered market that is an institution in Bordeaux. Just pull up a chair and enjoy a glass of your Entre-deux-Mers with some of your oysters / Place des Capucins, 33000 Bordeaux / https://marchedescapucins.com / https://www.facebook.com/Chez.Jean.Mi
Halles de Bacalan, near to the cite du vin, also offer seafood platters to enjoy in a very vibrant and convivial space. This is also a great location as there are so many different food options for your friends or family to choose from and they have some wonderful outdoor seating available / Closed Monday, no reservations possible / 10 Esplanade de Pontac, 33300 Bordeaux / +33 5 35 54 44 82 / https://biltoki.com/hallesbacalan/
LEARN MORE : Take a half day or full day tour in the Bassin, with oysters, caviar and history. Visit oyster farmers and see how they raise these delicacies, the history of the oyster in Aquitaine, different species, and learn how to eat them the French way! The huitrier de Bacalan offers oysters from Oleron. https://aquitainetravelguide.com/bordeaux-food-and-wine-tours/
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