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Shucked! Oyster Bar Happy Hour, BC Seafood Festival 2016

We were at the BC Seafood Festival for the weekend, taking in as many events as possible and exploring the Seafood Market Pavilion in between them all. This is an open market place available all Saturday and Sunday, to any BC Seafood Festival ticket holder. Here, guests are invited to learn more about event sponsors and local products through conversation, demonstration, and passed out reading material.

I was especially interested in the uni demonstration where we saw first hand the steps that go into harvesting uni for commercial consumption. Then the live action of the cracking of the spiny marine animal, before the meat is scooped out, soaked in a brine bath, plumped up in ice water, then allowed to dry for future use.

There were also spirit samples from local distillery Wayward and Sea cider.

And this grassy field was also the location for the Shucked! Oyster Bar Happy Hour, where guests with tickets were able to enjoy all you can eat oyster until supplies ran out. Four BC and Canadian Growers and Oyster bars shucking non-stop.

Each booth had the expected lemon and lime wedges, various bottles of hot sauce and Tabasco, plus scratch made sauces. However, a few seasoned attendees actually brought their own bag of sliced citrus and bottle of ponzu to make it easier on themselves.

My favourite condiments were from Anh and Chi. Not only were their bottles of fish sauce and sweet chilli available for pouring, but they also collaborated on a handful of sauces as well. There was a “pink punch” they made with “Indian Pantry”. And they teamed up with “Wildlight” to make a fermented lemon grass cocktail sauce, as well as a classic garlic and vinegar mignonette.

As for the oysters themselves this signature happy hour showcased the extensive line-up of British Columbia oyster producing families and businesses as they shucked perfectly plump, ice cold, sustainable, slurpable oysters at roving, longboard stations.

The BC Shellfish Grower’s Association spoke to their breeding of oysters with a large display of 40 varieties in shell. They asked guests to fill out a survey, pointing out which oysters they found the most attractive based on shell shape.

And after doing so we were welcome to pick from their selection of fresh ones on ice.

Effingham Oysters had some of the largest oysters we saw. A little difficult to get down in a single gulp, but helpful with a swig of hot sauce and plenty of lemon.

We found Mac’s Oysters the freshest. And sadly by the time we got to the Fanny Bay stand they were all out.

Many years ago I remembered this being a free for all, with troughs full of oysters and no wait to pick and eat what you wanted. Today we only ate 7 each and could have had more if there wasn’t the need to queue up and be cordial in how much you took. The introduction to the event also mentioned a cooked oyster option, but we either missed it or they ran out.

Happy hour was then followed by a Shucking competition led by Shucker Paddy, the Guinness World Record Shucking master. The prize was their name on a gold encrusted, oyster cluster trophy.
The competition had three heats with 4-5 competitors in each, the one with the highest score of that round would advance to the final three way battle.

The competition isn’t solely based on time, but more on presentation. The three industry judges were looking for 12 customer ready oysters. Good looking oyster, where the meat was not cut, the shell was not broken, there is no blood from the shucker, and the oyster itself is not flipped over. Points are subtracted for each of these infractions. Each competitor collects 14 oysters that they want to work with, and have the ability to discard two that they are not happy with.

Our combatants start with their hands on a cube timer then once the mark is announced they release their hands and start shucking. Then once done, their hands go back on to the timer to signal their completion.

We witnessed one of the fastest shuckers and saw oyster shucking with one of the nicest presentations. The latter included shots of Copperpenny Distillery gin distilled with discarded Fanny Bay Oyster shells.

In between heats all ticket holders were also able to take as many rides up and down the scenic gondola, adjacent, as they wanted. This is a trip meant for snow boarding and skiing in the winter, with scenic view points and zip lining in the summer.

What caught my attention was the trees wearing all sorts of patterned and colourful bras. This has been a Mount Washington tradition for years. A few recall it from skiing trips in the 80’s. Mount Washington gets a lot of snow in winter so people wouldn’t have to climb that high to add their “contribution” during the cold weather months.

For those who missed it and are interesting in learning more about BC’s sustainable seafood practices, as well as make note on how to attend next year’s festivities, visit the link below.


2 thoughts on “Shucked! Oyster Bar Happy Hour, BC Seafood Festival 2016”

  1. Attending the BC Seafood Festival sounds like an incredible experience, from the uni demonstration to the Shucked! Oyster Bar Happy Hour and the exciting Shucking competition. It’s a celebration of local seafood, complete with tastings, demonstrations, and even a scenic gondola ride. For seafood enthusiasts looking to learn more about sustainable practices and plan for next year’s festival, You can check [Wrapofthedaymcd.co.uk] to explore new foods..!

  2. Sounds like an amazing experience at the BC Seafood Festival! From the uni demonstration to the Shucked! Oyster Bar Happy Hour and the thrilling Shucking competition, it’s a celebration of local seafood and sustainable practices. Perfect for seafood enthusiasts planning ahead for next year’s event!

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