Saturday, 20 December 2008


There is no other oyster in the world that compares to the Bluff Oyster ( ostrea chilensis). The same species flourishes in many part of the country including the Marlborough Sounds. Nelson Bays and the Chathams but none have the taste of Bluffies simply because of what they eat. Its like comparing corn feed and grass feed beef - Salt marsh lamb and grass fed lamb. Wild forest fed venison and grass fed venison. The beds of Foveaux Strait are full of minerals only found in the south. Its what gives the meaty southern oyster its extraordinary taste - some say it delivers a taste that speaks of endless ocean depths. Its a taste that lingers leaving a hint of of sea on your tongue long after the oyster is swallowed.
So we discover today on scanning that venerable organ of Truth in the South the Southland Times that Bluff Oysters cannot be branded Bluff oysters. There is a pretender on the horizon - Cuisine Magazine has reported that Tio Point Oyster Co ( Tio being the Maori name for oysters) is farming them from the cold waters of Tory Channel. Good on Bruce Hearn. They will be good, they may even be excellent but they will not have that big bollocksy metallic tang of the Bluffies. And there lies the answer - legally it may be a stretch to use the label Bluff for the oysters but in the north they are regularly referred to as " Bluffies" so there is the solution. So all you oyster barons dip into your long pockets , sell a BMW or a horse for two and invest in a decent advertising campaign to cement the Bluffies as the only true oysters - based on the maxim - " You Are What You Eat"
We have written stories in the past about how some sifty oyster barons , when the Bluffies were out of season, imported the inferior Nelson dredge oysters and washed them in water from Foveaux Strait to try and imitate the Bluffie taste.Various restaurants we have visited over the years have tried to pass off the Nelson oysters as Bluffies and we have sent them back and in every case had a red faced apology from the chef ( in some cases some pretty bloody well known chefs).We have run, been involved in and presided over a fair few taste tests during the last two decades and in each case the Bluffies were easily recognisable over the Nelson oysters.
So Southland, you need to get moving an secure the name in one form or another to cement the reputation and recognition of one of New Zealands great culinary icons.



BB, I was in Tesco yesterday.
I could not believe how small and weedy the British mussels are, little black things, compared to the fine greenlipped mussels we have in New Zealand.
Can't say I found any oysters. I must have a look next time.

media said...

All very interesting... great shot of a Bluff Oyster, they are hard to photo, not so attractive as hey taste. Yhea your right, you have to protect what's yours that is for sure.