I had misgivings. I pictured standing in inclement weather, oyster juice running down into my sleeve as I balance an oyster in one hand, a glass of wine in the other, and try to keep my blowing hair out of my face. We came armed with our oyster shucker, layered sweaters, and sturdy boots to face the beach on a December night.
Turns out I needn't have worried, for the Walrus and the Carpenter Oyster picnic was a grand experience. It even felt downright decadent to be sipping award winning wines out of stemware on the beach under a full (ish) moon, at low tide, with a bonfire and with other Gortex-clad oyster lovers. Wasn't cold for long out there, with the wine (Kunde Sauvignon Blanc and the CMS White) and the heat and glow of the fire.
Oysters were plentiful what with the hot-shot shucking masters out there shucking away for our dining pleasure. We could shuck our own if we wanted, so Mr. Pants went oyster hunting, searching the dark water's edge for specific types of oysters. Questions were genially answered by host Jon Rowley, our local oyster guru, and by Bill Taylor of Taylor Shellfish Farms.
We slurped a variety of gorgeous oysters, the petite Olympias, sweet, plump Kumamotos, Totten Inlet virginicas, and Pacifics. I have to say I loved them all, and was unable to tease out a favorite.
Oyster stew (from Xinh's Clam and Oyster House) at the end of the night was welcome and warming.
I fear I'm forever spoiled now, and I'm not sure I can have oysters any other way than on a wintery beach in the dark, drinking wine. Master shuckers don't hurt to have around either.
Highlights: Freshest oysters on the planet, white wines. Beachy ambiance.
Disappointments: Some might balk at the length of the bus ride, (about an hour and a half), but the video they showed help to pass the time, and questions such as "Do oysters have brains?" were fired at our host.
Mr. Pants: Like a kid in a candy store. Tromping around on the beach in his striped fleece cap, picking up this and that oyster, getting tipsy.