We ventured to Whitstable, the English seaside town in Kent, on Sunday to partake in the annual week-long Whitstable Oyster Festival. I visited Whitstable a few years back and loved spending a quiet afternoon by the sea with the Brit. This time around we were joined by three friends to experience the delicacies and charms of Whitstable.
The oyster festival was already in full swing by the time we arrived at 11:30 am. Young and old were running amok perhaps fueled by the aphrodisiacs or just pure excitement from another nice summer day. We quickly surveyed the lay of the land and found stalls selling anything from fudge to corn dogs (as part of the Harbour food fair) and art prints to masquerade masks ; of course oysters were the star of the show. My friends, Julie & Charlie, and I opted for oysters from the Whitstable Oyster Company who served two varieties, farmed from Ireland and wild oysters from their own shore.
We were told that the local oysters were more metallic in taste than the farmed variety but truth be told I couldn’t tell the difference. What I did notice is that they are generally not as briny as the Island Creek oysters I’m used to back home in Massachusetts but milder and creamier in taste. The oysters went especially well with crisp prosecco poured from the tap and music from the orchestra.
A full day of entertainment was planned for the festival, notably the oyster eating competition. This involved slurping down a half dozen oysters followed by a half pint of beer, the fastest one to do so is declared champion. To my delight, my friend Vince signed up and did us (& Australia) proud by finishing 2nd in the 1st heat!
Before long it was time to go. We took the scenic route through the town center to the train station and fell even more in love with this distinctive little seaside town. I wish I had the appetite to try the oyster and chorizo flavored ice cream that Sundae Sundae is rumored to serve. Perhaps next year I’ll remember to pace myself!
The Whitstable Oyster Festival lasts until Friday, 1st of August with tons of family-friendly activities planned. Be sure to visit if you can and let me know if you happen to come across an oyster flavored ice cream.