Where to Visit: Waiheke Oyster Festival

Enjoy a relaxing day on Waiheke - with a dozen or so oysters

Picture / Babiche Martens

Casanova was said to have consumed 50 daily for breakfast. Competitive eater Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti polished off 35 dozen in a single setting. And the oyster itself is no slouch — it drinks 500 litres of water a day.

Now oyster lovers have a great excuse to slurp the zinc-rich delicacy, supplies having recovered from the virus that affected much of the globe. Te Matuku Pacific Oysters are hosting the inaugural Oyster Festival on Waiheke to celebrate the glut, with a relaxed day in the olive groves and gardens at Rangihoua Estate on Saturday.

Top chefs Des Harris (Clooney), Marco Edwardes (Te Whau) and Anthony McNamara (The Oyster Inn) will demonstrate their innovative recipes, including Des’ buttermilk, rhubarb and verjus dish, Marco’s with cucumber, green apple, lemon and gin and Anthony’s with sherry and chorizo butter. Also on offer: Babicka’s Table seafood sausages, platters, Man O’ War wine, Garage Project beers, and live music from Mojo Risers and Rook.

“It’ll be very chilled out, a chance to sit on the lawn and enjoy wonderful food and wine,” says Te Matuku’s Duana Upchurch, whose oyster farmer husband will also be there. “Kids are welcome and there’s the educational aspect as well.”

Wary of the slimy mollusks? Try eating them cooked first, she advises, lightly fried in flour or a panko crumb, or by popping them on the barbie until their lids have opened. Or you could make like Casanova and lose your oyster virginity by sampling one au naturel. As my niece put it after her first time: “It tastes like being dumped by a wave at Waipu”.

• Earlybird tickets to the Oyster Festival are $30; under 15s free. $70 Fullers package includes ferry, festival bus, entry, first drink and oyster trio. See tematukubayoysters.co.nz for more info.

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New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

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