Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Whitstable Oyster Festival

When I originally thought up the plan to go to the Whitstable Oyster Festival I wasn't really expecting much, to tell you the truth. I've just always wanted to try oysters and figured this would be a perfect place to expose my taste buds. This was either going to be a brilliant idea or an epic failure.  The boyf and I decided to make a mini break out of the whole thing and booked a hotel in Canterbury, which was 20 minutes from the coast, and planned our trip. 

We didn't quite no what to expect with the festival and although it was running for a full week, we picked Sunday as our best day to attend. We arrived mid morning and it was already busy with people. We bought a program of events and took a turn of the site.

There were fishermen singing a shanty, craft stalls, food stalls (oyster and non oyster related), and throngs of people milling about on the beach. 

Finally, I decided it was time to try an oyster. We made our purchase and sat along the edge of the harbour and prepared our treats. One lemon, one vinegar, one Tabasco, I was instructed.

I was unable to just let it slide down my throat and had to chew, but I'm a fan! Next time I'm feeling fancy I'll be able to order oysters in a restaurant.

Part of the day's activities was an Oyster Eating Competition. Again we had low expectations of the entertainment value of this, but ended up staying for the entire event.  There were some seasoned competitors with a skillful technique and some newbies that didn't know what to expect. There was one guy competing (probably signed up by is friends) that had never had oysters before and doesn't like fish. After his first sample, he retched and threw in the towel. Definitely my hero of the day.

This lady competitor was amazing and made it all the way to the semifinals!

They guy on the left was the big winner of the competition. 

There were piles and piles of oyster shells which had signs stating that they are cleaned and put back into the beds to help produce more oysters. 

Oyster Po'Boy

Once the festival was eaten dry of all the oysters we wandered the promenade, admiring the views, and growing envious of the beach side houses and huts. It was a super lovely town, well worth a visit.

The Whitstable Oyster Festival is an week long annual event with free entry. Each day had different activities planned. It was much better than we were anticipating, but we were surprised and disappointed by how few stalls were selling oysters and then how they actually ran out of oysters completely by early evening with the days programs running until 10pm. Despite that, this was great fun and I hope next year you can make it to this little gem of a summer festival.

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