Point aux Pins

Mar 05, 2012

Take a look at these oysters and tell me where they’re from:

Point aux Pins


Long Island Sound, maybe? Cape Cod Bay? Duxbury Harbor? Would you believe Alabama? They’ve got the look of a classic Northeast oyster, but they are Gulf oysters through and through. (Native to Cedar Point, in fact, before the Auburn Shellfish Laboratory gets a hold of them.)  The difference is, they are farmed, and, apparently, that is enough to turn a Gulf oyster into a Northeast oyster. Instead of the superthick shell, these get a nice cup and an urbane black-and-white polish to the shell. This happens because these oysters are raised in cylindrical mesh containers that roll with the tides and tumble the oysters, ensuring that deep cup. The plump meats and healthy ivory color come from the algae-rich waters of Grand Bay, Alabama, where they are grown. I’ve spent a little time in Grand Bay. Here’s what it looks like.

Grand Bay, Alabama

That’s me in blue getting blasted by the airboat, which is another story; the important part is what you don’t see here: industry, of any kind. (You can also see where the name came from.) Grand Bay is pristine. And so are the oysters. Their flavor is a clean, creamed-corn kind of sea, light on brine and big on oysterness; a fine example of what the Gulf can do–and will do more and more, as other individuals begin farming high-quality oysters throughout the Gulf region. For now, look for Point aux Pins in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

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