A briny oyster has traditionally been enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon, a splash of Tabasco, or a shallot vinaigrette. In France, home to some of the world’s best oysters, one local producer has gone one step further, and actually added flavors to oysters while they’re still in their shells.
Joffrey Dublaut, a 29-year-old oyster farmer in the Charente-Maritime region of France, is the first in the world to do this. He started the company, called So’ooh, in his garage, and it took four years of experimentation and a lot of failure before he was ready to launch the flavorsome molluscs in October this year.
He told Le Parisien (link in French) that the process of getting the flavor into the oyster involves a 16-step immersion process in giant tanks of water that contain the taste components. The oysters, he said, filter the water every few hours through their gills: “It’s really about a natural cycle, we never interfere with the product.”
Dublaut notes that people already buy flavored waters and yoghurt, so why not oysters? But he added that the oyster community in Oléron was somewhat split over his achievement. So’ooh shipped its first oysters to French hypermarket chain Leclerc stores just in time for Christmas, but the Asian market is where Dublaut expects to find the most interest. As well as lemon, ginger, and raspberry flavors, he’s eyeing grapefruit and mirabelle plum tastes in the future.