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Dorset and Loch Ryan triumph in Oyster Olympics

People are starting to taste and talk about oysters in the same way they do wine, according to Boisdale owner Ranald Macdonald.

Speaking at the naugural Boisdale and Wright Brothers Oyster Olympics, Macdonald hailed the dramatic improvement in people’s appreciation of the shellfish.

Poole in Dorset and Loch Ryan in Scotland have emerged victorious in the Oyster Olympics, scooping gold medals in the rock and native categories respectively.

Sponsored by Champagne GH Mumm, the blind tasting event last Friday at Boisdale Canary Wharf saw 585 oysters sampled from 13 different producers in the British Isles.

Oysters were judged on appearance, meat-to-shell ratio, flavour and minerality.

Maldon took silver in the rock category, while Duchy of Cornwall came second in the native group.

Boisdale owner Ranald Macdonald believes consumer knowledge of oysters has increased dramatically in the past few years.

“The days of people ordering half a dozen oysters are long gone; now the discerning shellfish lover wants to talk about an oyster’s flavour profile, its provenance and production,” Macdonald said.

“People know their Maldons from their West Merseas, their Colchesters from their Caledonians. Diners are starting to taste and talk about oysters as they would wine,” he added.

Judges at the Oyster Olympics included Esquire food editor Tom Parker-Bowles, Richard Harden of the Hardens Restaurant Guide, the FT ‘s Bill Knot and Lucas Hollweg of The Sunday Times.

Lovers of the molluscs can taste all oysters with podium places on Boisdale’s “Six Medal Plate”, available for the duration of the Boisdale and Wright Brothers Oyster Festival, from 8 November to 1 December.

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