The World of oysters

All about oysters

You can absolutely eat fresh oysters all year round, but peak oyster season is the months ending in "R." Now, for the next questions: How do you pick the best oysters? How do you shuck them? How should you cook them? We've put together a little guide to help you navigate the complex waters of the oyster world.

There's an oyster for everyone

The east and west coasts of Canada have over a hundred varieties of oysters, boasting a wide range of textures and flavours-delicate, meaty, briny, sweet. Here are just a few of the oysters on offer from our fish markets.

Shiny Sea

Origin: Prince Edward Island
Texture: Plump, juicy and full bodied on the palate
Flavour: Salty, with a subtle, sweet finish

Merasheen Bay

Origin: Newfoundland
Texture: Plump
Flavour: Briny and mineral, with a cold, sharp taste of seawood

Raspberry Point

Origin: Prince Edward Island
Texture: Supple and substantial
Flavour: Salty, with a briny finish and floral notes

Lucky Lime

Origin: Prince Edward Island
Texture: Rustic, firm and plump
Flavour: Salty, with notes of seaweed and a citrus tone finish


Origin: Prince Edward Island
Texture: Firm
Flavour: Semi-salty, vegetal, with a sweet finish


Origin: Prince Edward Island
Texture: Round, juicy and light-bodied
Flavour: Perfect balance of sweetness and brine


Origin: Nova Scotia
Texture: Plump, quite firm
Flavour: Slightly salty, brackish flavour with a vegetal finish


Origin: New Brunswick
Texture: Refined and light, with full bodied, firm flesh
Flavour: Sweet and briny, with notes of hazelnut

Trésor du large

Origin: Îles-de-la-Madeleine
Texture: Fleshy, soft and juicy
Flavour: Intense brine, with a sweet, subtle finish

Fresh test

You have to be vigilant eating raw oysters. Your shellfish should be unmistakably fresh. Choose your oysters carefully, and go for ones with heavy, tightly shut shells. Avoid oysters with shells that are slimy or covered in algae. Make sure to throw out any oysters with an open bill, as they're likely dead. Another sure-fire method is the smell test: oysters should have a mild, pleasant ocean smell. When you open them, they should be plump and glistening, with a clean, clear liquor.

The best way to shuck an oyster

  1. Firmly hold the oyster in a clean cloth, with the shell in the palm of your hand and the pointed end (the hinge) toward your wrist.
  2. Work the tip of a knife into the hinge and twist to pop the two shells apart.
  3. Run the knife along the side of the shell to sever the muscle, separate the flesh of the oyster and pull the top shell off. If there are any shell fragments, use the tip of the knife to scrape them out.
  4. Be careful not to discard the liquor. Place the opened oysters on a bed of coarse salt or ice and serve immediately.

The world is your oyster

There are so many ways to eat oysters. They are delicious raw with a bit of fresh lemon juice or a few drops of hot sauce. You can also serve them topped with mignonette, a mix of shallots, vinegar and your choice of seasoning. Oysters are also great cooked, so fry them, grill them or serve them au gratin.

Drink pairings

The delicate flavours of oysters pair wonderfully with dry white wines featuring mineral notes, such as wines from Chablis, Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine or Sancerre. If you want to get a bit more festive, you can also serve them with some bubbly. Who'd say no to oysters with champagne or cava?