Picture this: you’ve just been served a beautiful platter of oysters for your Valentines Day dinner. Now what? In spite of what Emily Post or your mother might have had to say on the subject of slurping, when it comes to oysters, it’s actually the best way to eat them!
If you’re a newbie to oyster-slurping or are confused or intimidated by the process, fear not. This post will offer you an invaluable education, not only on how to properly slurp oysters, but on why we eat them that way! Read this primer before coming over on Valentines Day to Hearthstone Kitchen and Cellar to try our stellar oyster selection!
Why slurp oysters? Growing up, you were likely told that slurping at the table was rude. However, when it comes to certain types of shellfish, it’s actually the cleanest and most practical method of serving. Basically, slurping allows you to easily get the edible part of the oyster from the plate to your mouth while also managing the liquid and potential mess along the way.
Of course, it should be noted that etiquette-wise, to slurp an oyster does not require loud sound effects. It is possible to slurp an oyster without sounding like a surround sound movie!
To chew or not to chew? There are two different schools of thought regarding chewing the oyster. Some say you should “shoot” the oyster–that is, to swallow it smoothly without chewing at all–or to give it a munch or two before it goes down your gullet.
You’ll find many different opinions on why either is the best way, but these days, most experts will say to give it a chew or two–even if it’s not necessary to help you swallow, these small bites will help you really taste all of the flavors.
(Source: Hearthstone Kitchen and Cellar Facebook page; photo via @niclucaneat)
How to slurp oysters. Now that we’ve gotten some of the basics out of the way, let’s talk about your game plan once a platter of oysters arrives at your table. Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Relax. Remember, eating oysters should be a treat, not an exercise in stress!
Step 2: Choose your oyster. Now, grab that tiny, adorable fork that came with your platter. Gently use the fork to shimmy the oyster from its liquid-filled shell. Basically, you want to make sure that the oyster isn’t still attached to the shell. Be careful not to slosh the liquid: that’s part of the flavor experience!
Step 3: Set your fork to the side, and pick up the shell (once again, take care not to spill the liquid). Align the wide end toward your mouth, and slurp it up! The oyster and its liquid should go into your mouth all at once.
Step 4: Give it a chew or two, to release the flavor, then swallow it down. It’s not necessary to masticate your oyster, but that little chomp will help the flavors unleash in your mouth.
Step 5: Now that you’re a pro, repeat!
Pro tips. Now that you know how to slurp an oyster, here are some added tips to help facilitate even greater enjoyment.
- Educate yourself on the oysters. Not all oysters are the same. Each type of oyster will have a unique texture and flavor nuances. Be sure to ask your server about what type of oysters are on special on the given day. Not only will this expand your palate, but it will offer you a more interesting eating experience.
- Eat more than one. If you’re slurping oysters for the first time, be sure to enjoy more than one. The first oyster you slurp you probably won’t taste quite as closely, because you’ll be focused on getting the technique down. Once you relax a little and have the method down, be sure to eat at least one or two more, so that you can really enjoy the flavor!
- Try at least one oyster plain. Oysters will usually come with various accompaniments, such as hot sauce or lemon. Some people love dousing their oysters in in these flavorings. That’s fine, but be sure to try at least one “naked” so that you can appreciate its natural flavor before deciding if it needs the added flavor!
- Choose the right pairing. Oysters are one of life’s great pleasures, but like most things, they’re better with the proper drink accompaniment. A dry, sparkling white wine is always a classic pairing, offering a pleasing contrast to the saltiness of the oysters. A sweeter white wine or a rosé can also offer a pleasing contrast. Yet others prefer an untraditional yet delectable route: pairing oysters with a shot of tequila! (Pssst! Love reading about drink pairings? Check out this post on how to pair various brunch dishes from our menu with the perfect beverage)
- Have fun. Slurping oysters allows you to play with your food just a little bit. Embrace the slight silliness of it! Food should be fun. Take the flavor seriously, but be lighthearted in your approach to enjoyment.
When you’re looking for Summerlin Restaurants at which to enjoy oysters, look no further than Hearthstone Kitchen and Cellar! We always have an incredible roster of oysters available in quantities of three, six, or a dozen.
Celebrate with your significant other on Wednesday, February 14 when we have a $1 per oyster special! Come and test this oyster slurping technique in our warm and inviting establishment!
Have you ever slurped an oyster?