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Oysters straight out of the ocean Photo: Malgosia Minta/MintaEats.com
Oysters straight out of the ocean Photo: Malgosia Minta/MintaEats.com

Food & Drink

On oyster safari in North Jutland

Few foods are quite so associated with luxury and savoir-vivre as oysters.For centuries these bivalves have enjoyed an almost mythological status as an aphrodisiac and sophisticated rich man's food, and some of the most sought after in the world are found in Limfjord, Denmark.

They have been eaten in Denmark since the stone age. Not only are they a delicacy, oysters are a genuine superfood with low fat content and packed with minerals and vitamins.

They can be served au naturel in the classic way with lemon, with shallots and red wine vinegar, new Nordic style with wood sorrel and parsley oil, or grilled, au gratin or in a Champagne mignonette.

Photo: Lise Hannibal

An oyster is not just an oyster.

Oyster Safari

Dansk Skaldyrcenter is a shellfish research and information center that also organizes oyster safaris and from fjord to fork tours, where you harvest oysters and other shellfish in the fjord and then prepare them in the center kitchen with the chef for eating with a good wine.

Read more here: skaldyrcenter.dk

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In Europe you’ll find native oysters (Ostrea edulis), the original and now rarest species, and Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas), an invasive species at European latitudes that are available in abundance.

Both types are found in Limfjord, but the native oyster is considered to be superior.

Limfjord oysters are meatier with a denser texture than Pacific oysters, with a nutty, mineral or sweet taste depending on the time of year.

Limfjord is home to the world's largest colony of wild native oysters, where this exquisite bivalve is sustainably harvested with set quotas, that are carefully monitored each year to avoid overfishing.

The quota is set by Dansk Skaldyrcenter in Nykøbing Mors, a research center that monitors shellfish stock levels, reproduction and water quality.

The center also organizes oyster safaris where us ordinary mortals can discover where this gourmet gold hides itself a few meters offshore.

Eating oysters can be an expensive business, but it’s actually child's play to get your hands on this sought after bivalve if you know where and when to look. The where is Limfjord, the when is right now.

Here are oysters! Photo: Malgosia Minta/MintaEats.com

“Fall and spring are the best times to catch oysters, when the water temperature is low and there is little risk of algae and bacteria in the water,” Lene Møller Christensen, a researcher at Dansk Skaldyrcenter and oyster safari guide, says.

Oysters live in shallow water at depths of 0.5 to 8 meters, and the only equipment you need to harvest them is a pair of rubber gloves, waders, a sturdy fishing net and a bucket for your catch.

You can go out a couple of meters in waders, where you will find plenty of oysters. Here you'll find the occasional Limfjord native oyster, but the more abundant Pacific oysters can be found in large colonies on the sea bed, where you can dislodge them with your foot and catch them in your net, as easy as that. A smart way of foraging a festive meal.

You'll also need an oyster knife if you want to eat them there and then. Standing in the water eating oysters straight out of the shell is an utterly divine experience.

Text: Lise Hannibal

Last edited: December 5, 2016

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