OYSTERS: THE ART OF TASTING PORTUGAL
Located by the sea, Portugal takes advantage of everything the sea has to offer: the beach, the waves, and, of course, the food.
So, oysters are one of the marvelous natural foods that thrive in Portugal and especially in Algarve. Oyster farming and harvesting is one of the most popular coastal industries in Portugal. Along with the clams, the shrimps and with the fish, the oyster is important for many popular seafood stews like cataplana, a favorite in the Algarve restaurants.
Here are some of the most common oysters in Portugal: Clams (Amêijoas), Goose Barnacles (Percebes), Acorn Barnacle (Cracas), Scarlet Prawn (Carabineiros), Razor Clam (Lingueirão ou Navalhas), Mussels (Mexilhão), Brown Crab (Sapateira), Santola, Bean Clam (Conquilha), Rose Shrimp (Gambas), Lobster (Lagosta), Lavagante, Limpet (Lapas), Velvet Crab (Navalheiras) and Sea Urchin (Ouriço do mar).
Oysters aren’t just a food in Portugal, they’re a culture, a way of life
Photo: Oysters. Portugal.
What Do Oysters Taste Like?
The answer to this question depends on several factors, like the oyster variety, the geographical location, and some more. Nevertheless, oysters have their unique terroir. The oyster taste is mainly influenced by the water they live in.
The main idea is that oysters shouldn’t taste overly fishy. They have a very subtle fish flavor, so we could say that they taste like the ocean, with some mineral notes that may vary depending on the type.
For instance, raw oysters don’t have a strong flavor, so they are usually served with lemon or sauce that adds some flavor. Besides, the oyster flavor intensifies the longer they are cooked.
A bit more about oysters and oyster sauces
You should know by now that Algarve is known for its seafood dishes and that you can order oysters at a seafood restaurant. This means that by taking a trip you can eat oysters which have been plucked straight from the ocean and then opened right before your eyes.
In the Algarve region there are many food tours and oyster tasting experiences starting with Ilha de Culatra in Ria Formosa, where you can learn all about oysters from a local producer. Then you can try fresh oysters and enjoy a crisp, a cold glass of white wine, all these by the ocean.
There any plenty ways in which oysters can be prepared and an oyster bar can be a good place to taste them.
And since we want to give a clue on how you can take more advantage of these ocean wonders, here are the five best sauces to pair with your oysters.