Emmanuel Tresmontant - 2009-12-15
Prat-ar-Coum, Cancale and Saint-Vaast are among France’s most renowned oyster-farming areas, producing remarkably fine molluscs.
But for your holiday dinner you’ll need to choose just one source, and my choice would be those raised by David Hervé, an exceptionally talented oyster grower from Saint-Just in the heart of the Marennes-Oléron (along with the Bassin d’Arcachon, one of only two French regions where oysters still naturally thrive).
Hervé is famous for his ‘pousses en claires,’ or claire-refined oysters, and especially his ‘royale cabanon’, a fleshy, firm creature which has an area of 0.5 m2 all to itself: ten times more than its ordinary peers! With all that space, the royale cabanon disposes of all of the plankton and particles it could possibly need until it has reached maturity.
In his cabane lost in the middle of the marshes, David Hervé raises oysters the way his parents taught him: the old-fashioned way, including a two- to three-month refining process which provides the shellfish with a goodly quantity of trace elements, giving a very pronounced hazelnut flavour and an intense lingering aftertaste or ‘finish.’ The essence of the ocean in one luscious mouthful!