Notable Nosh: George’s Jumbo Oysters
The beauties you see pictured above are the largest oysters I have ever come across on the East coast. You can probably get some idea of the scale from the lemon wedge at the bottom of the platter, but, for reference, the largest was easily the same length as my hand from my wrist to the tip of my middle finger.
Many years ago, my wife and I came across a number of really large ones on the beach at low tide whilst on a vacation on Vancouver Island. We grilled those (leaving them over the flames just until the shells popped open) and they were really delicious. Still, I always rather regretted not sampling one raw from the shell.
I got my chance to try these giant ones at Gallant’s Oyster Bar in Charlottetown, PEI, during my summer vacation. The guy who shucked them for me told me that the name is not an official one. Rather, they are harvested in the same area where the variety known as ‘Green Gables’ are harvested, and he just calls them ‘George’s Jumbos’ because the guy who fishes them happens to be named George. I am not sure, but judging from the shell, these ones must be about 10 years old, or so.
Anyway, I have to say that they were rather a revelation. I had rather suspected that (as with many things) oysters would get tougher and less delicate in flavor as they got older but this proved not to be the case. George’s Jumbos turned out to be every bit as sweet as many of the smaller types I had on that visit to the island. They weren’t quite as briny as, say, the Raspberry Points, or Malpeque’s, but they ended with very pleasant cucumber notes and had a great, chewy texture. I rated them at a decent 3 out of 5.