“FreakyFlier, the world is your Oyster!”
Where does that saying come from and what does it mean? O.K, forget the FreakyFlier bit (although some have said it 😉 It was first penned by Shakespeare in his play The Merry Wives of Windsor: Pistol: “Why then the world’s mine oyster, Which I with sword will open.” Modern times may have changed the actual phrasing and different connotations have been bandied about as to its meaning, but my favourite and the one I like to believe is, that you have to go out in this great wide world to find your pearl in life, whatever it may be. With luck you may find yours in the first oyster you shuck, or it may take hard work shucking many but, the harder it becomes, when you find it, the bigger the pearl will be.
Anyhoo….., I’m not looking for a pearl today, nor am I shucking any oysters as today’s hard work has been done for me – I am out to purchase some fresh, briny, salty, taste of the ocean that is the plump Pacific Oyster farmed at Barilla Bay Oyster farm just near Hobart, Tasmania. Operating for over 30 years, Barilla Bay farm the bigger Pacific Oyster, a larger variety than the Sydney Rock Oysters most Sydneysiders would be familiar with.
My last visit to Barilla Bay was in 2003 when sales were conducted from a tin shack on the edge of farm, now they operate from a purpose built building complete with a lovely sales and dining area which overlooks the farm. Tours of the farm are available in the warmer months and unfortunately the restaurant was closed today, but I am really here just to purchase a couple dozen of these plump morels to take back to Sydney.
What? You’re going to take freshly shucked oysters on a plane back to Sydney? Is FreakyFlier Freakin’ mad? I picture you yelling at your screen.
Yes I am. For an additional $7, Barilla Bay will pack the oysters snugly in a polystyrene box with a sealed ice pack on top ready for transportation almost anywhere in the world. The box will keep the oysters fresh for up to 24 hours and once at your destination and refrigerated, keep for a further 4 days.
With Hobart Airport located just a few minutes around the corner from the oyster farm, it wasn’t long before my precious mollusc cargo was labeled fragile, tagged to Sydney and on the conveyor belt to the aircraft baggage hold.
As we took off north towards Sydney, I could see the farm and Oyster beds in the estuarine waters below, several hundred of them living and feeding in the brackish water.
Review: Hobart to Sydney Business Class by a QantasLink Boeing 717-200
The flight was just under two hours and it wasn’t long before I was home, all in all I would say about 4.5 hours since the oysters had been packaged up. I couldn’t wait to tuck into them and swallowed a few down before I decided to do a few different things with them (after checking for a pearl….)
Oysters Natural are a delight, but I prefer them to be dressed in something acidic to denature them, or break down the proteins thus slightly cooking them. It brings out the dullness and makes them shine in lustre and flavour. I had a few with lemon and shallot, a trio with lime, green chili and chives, then I experimented with red wine balsamic and smoked chili salt…delish!
Oyster Mornay, Oyster Rockefeller and Oyster Kilpatrick were the cooked varieties I whisked up in the kitchen. Although flavoursome, the cooked varieties seemed to have hardened the oysters and the toppings seem to have taken away that luscious smooth gem like look that is a uncooked dressed simply with citrus. – “When life gives you lemons”, add it to an oyster….. and for a moment, just a moment you may find your pearl.
Barilla Bay Oyster Farm
1388 Tasman Highway
Cambridge TAS 7170
FreakyFlier paid for all oysters and packaging.