Breton Oysters


Brittany is one of the world’s greatest oyster-producing regions. You’ll find two varieties on Breton menus. Huîtres creuses are small, cupped rock oysters that fit into the palm of your hand. Huîtres plates are flat Belon oysters, which are much rarer. Two-thirds of France’s flat oysters come from Cancale. The dramatic tides in the Bay of Cancale make it an ideal place for "ostréiculture," which explains the curious oyster racks and stands exposed when the tide goes out. Sample the best of Cancale’s oysters at the open-air stands at the head of its port. Oysters are calibrated from 000 to 6, with the smaller number confusingly indicating the larger oysters. To learn more about oyster history and cultivation, head to the nearby Ferme Marine de Cancale, an oyster processor with an interesting museum. Although oysters can be enjoyed year-round, they are generally considered to be at their best from September to April. During the summer reproduction time, they become fat and milky, which is not to everyone’s taste.

Oyster stand in Cancale - © Fritz Hiersche/iStock/Thinkstock
Oyster racks used for cultivation - © fotoedu/iStock/Thinkstock
Fresh <i>huîtres creuses</i> with lemon - © mofles/iStock/Thinkstock
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