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best oysters in europe

c
chowwerred Mar 18, 2011 07:43 PM

Hi, I'm planning a food based vacation to Europe that should last around 3 weeks. Where in Europe can I find the best oysters? I'm currently based in California, if that matters to your opinion of the quality of the oysters in Europe.

  1. g
    gutsofsteel Mar 19, 2011 05:16 AM

    France. Specifically Brittany. Specifically Cancale. September to April are the best months.

    These are the best oysters in the world.

    6 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel
      c
      chowwerred Mar 19, 2011 12:51 PM

      How long would you recommend I stay in Cancale or the surrounding area to sample the oysters and other cuisine? I'll be in France for 7 days in April as part of a longer 3 week trip to Europe (1 week Spain, 1 week France, and 1 week Germany).

      1. re: chowwerred
        g
        gutsofsteel Mar 19, 2011 09:41 PM

        I guess it depends on how many oysters you want to eat :-)

        If you only have one week in France, if I were you I'd spend it all in Paris. You can get oysters from Cancale in Paris, very fresh, brought in same day. If you want to go to Brittany, spend 5 days in Paris and 2 days in Brittany. Take the train.

        1. re: gutsofsteel
          s
          Sturmi Mar 20, 2011 09:53 AM

          Sorry for my intrusion, but one week in Paris for a "food-based vacation" is an expensive endeavor...

          Good dining in Paris is expensive, and the quality of the food is varying. Paris is great for visiting the museums, for shopping on Rue St.Honore, for going to the Opera, but for food I would rather go to Lyon or Strasbourg !

          If you really want a balanced food-based vocation, I would reduce Germany to five days and spend two or three days in Alsace, where you can get the best of France and Germany in a single spot. I would add two days in Lyon and two days either in Bordeaux or in Burgundy and use the last three days in Paris ...

          And yes, take the train...

          1. re: Sturmi
            c
            chowwerred Mar 20, 2011 12:15 PM

            Unfortunately, the time available for this trip has been reduced to only 2 weeks.

            I actually won't be consuming any alcohol during my trip. Sad, I know. Doctor's orders, so not my choice... Would you still recommend I spend some time in Bordeaux or Burgundy? If not, then how should I reallocate those two days?

            I would really like to sample the spa experience while in Europe. Because the trip can only last 15 days, I should maybe only visit the Black Forrest region within Germany for the spas, then devote the rest of the time not in France to Madrid and surrounding areas in Spain.

            But would spending 2 days in Strasbourg and perhaps 2 days in the Baden Baden/ Black Forest region be too much focus for that area?

            1. re: chowwerred
              s
              Sturmi Mar 21, 2011 12:46 AM

              The Black Forrest Region is quite close to Alsace and Strasbourg and would be interesting if you plan to do some spa experience in the Roman baths of Baden Baden combined with culinary experiences in Alsace...

              Alternatively you could visit the Abano Terme / Montegrotto region in Italy, which is close to Padova, Venice, Vicenza and Verona...

            2. re: Sturmi
              g
              gutsofsteel Mar 20, 2011 12:28 PM

              I disagree. There is plenty of reasonably priced food to eat in Paris, and to spend all that time on the train instead of in one the greatest cities in the world...well I wouldn't do it.

              I would skip Germany and go to Italy instead.

      2. Delucacheesemonger Mar 20, 2011 01:05 PM

        Brittany indeed has excellent oysters. They start getting milky ,whether started growing in Brittany or imported from Ireland and 'finished' in Brittany, early. The C. Gigas, as creuses, are the cupped ones and are similar to your west coast larger ones. The Marennes are also C. Gigas, but are aged in algae rich water to get the green color. The oysters from Belon are O. Edulis and their season lasts a little longer.While Brittany gets a visit from me each year, the oyster availability in Cancale, St Malo, and Riec sur Belon goes down out of season and while a great place to visit for many reasons, going for oysters after April 15, l am afraid, is good not great. At Le Dome in Paris they have an excellent selection, but at that date probably imported from northern Ireland. Huiterie Regis just by the Mabillon metro stop in the 6th Arrondisement has all Marennes but closes at end of season. l do not know when but will be there in early April so if you are interested, email me at my information page address and l will let you know their closing date. There is difficulty logistically in doing 2 days in Brittany. Taking a train from Paris to Rennes, then renting a car is the easiest way, but is time consuming. If you stay in Cancale try to stay at Roellinger's family home, Les Rimains. It is a warm wonderful spot and may have been the best travel night of my life.

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