Text: CUINA MAGAZINE Photo: Anna García Frigola
The Ebre Delta’s curly-lipped oyster is even better than everyone says it is
The curly-lipped oyster of the Ebre Delta is found exclusively in the Fangar and Alfacs bays. Its characteristic delicious flavour is complemented by a high nutritional value and it is rich in proteins, vitamins A, D, B, and mineral salts. Local cultivators believe that the tasty delicacy is so special that it deserves official recognition and in 2016 the fishermen’s guilds applied to have the oysters, along with the famed local mussels, be given their own DO certification.
Oysters were introduced into the Delta some 30 years ago, and the geographic setting, especially with the river contributing nutrients and with the surrounding rice paddies filtering the waters, has made their adaptation go perfectly. The Delta oyster has an extraordinary flavour and over the years it has become one of the most important and characteristic products of this area. Each year, local growers produce a hearty crop of around 500 tonnes of the crustacean.
Most of the local products are sold fresh, and there is nothing like digging in as soon as they are harvested, but recently, local growers have been producing both smoked and preserved oysters. They can be eaten all year round but there is something special about lazy summer days topped off with a plate of oysters accompanied by one of Catalonia’s excellent white wines.
Legend tells us that Aphrodite rose out of the sea atop an oyster shell and since that time many cultures have believed that the crustacean holds special aphrodisiacal powers. Giacomo Casanova certainly thought so; he was reported to have consumed 30 of them a day, just to, shall we say, keep in shape?