I love supporting independent businesses. So I was excited at the prospect of visiting Long Table Distillery, Vancouver’s first micro-distillery, for a sampling of 46 South Fish Co. New Zealand oysters and an assortment of Long Table spirits.
Mind you, my excitement was a wee bit tempered by the fact that I’m not used to eating oysters. It’s a texture thing for me. But I love the smell of the sea that wafts up from a platter of oysters. They’re such a beautiful, sensual food to photograph. I was bound and determined to have at least one. And I did!
46 South Fish Co. have introduced Kaipara and Tio Point oysters to the Canadian market, and both were available for tasting to a very eager and hungry group of media and food writers. Kaipara oysters are the same genera as the Pacific Oysters and have a salty, creamy texture with hints of lemon and cucumber. They are grown in Kaipara Harbour in the northwest of the North Island where there is little human activity and exceptionally clean waters. Tio Points are more like the French Belons and have a shallower shell with plump, firm meat and a salty sweet flavour with hints of minerality and a slightly metallic finish. They are grown in the Marlborough area and are native to New Zealand; in fact Tio means oyster in the native Maori language.
I opted for the slightly smaller and more familiar Kaipara oyster and it was delicious! And it went down beautifully with Long Table Cucumber Gin. Suffice it to say that I was the only tentative person in the entire room – oyster after oyster was slurped with obvious pleasure and enjoyed with one of the many varieties of local spirits that were available for sipping with the oysters.
This was a second milestone of the day for me. I haven’t been much of a spirits drinker, and wine is usually my beverage of choice. I’ve actually avoided gin in particular, mainly because of the smell. But I really liked the Cucumber Gin. Thanks to Charles of Long Table for encouraging me!
If you’re an oyster lover, you can find the 46 South Fish Co. varieties at Codfathers Seafood in Kelowna, the Lobster Man on Granville Island, and in Toronto Diana’s Seafood Market. If you prefer a restaurant experience, Vancouver’s Oyster Express, Rodney’s in Toronto and Rodney’s Vancouver has them, and soon Rodney’s Calgary will have them on their menu. And if you don’t see them at your favourite fishmonger or oyster bar, ask for them! Mark Urwin from 46 South Fish Co. will be more than happy to oblige.
Of course, there was an #EyeOpener for me, not so much about accessibility of the location, but about my accessibility to new tastes and experiences. At the ripe old age of 60, I’m opening myself to more new bites and sips than I’ve ever had.
So, I’m up for new culinary adventures, folks. (And new selfie locations…)
Bring them on!