One of the few things this area is known for, other than the colourful Coasties themselves, is the Oysters. Some of the best oysters I’ve ever had have been from Patonga Creek, round the corner from me. Lovely, uniodine-y (creates new word), smooth and pale tasting.
So I was excited last year to see the Brisbane Water Oyster Festival advertised – over 2 days! Entertainment! Crafts! Seafood! We went; we were saddened. It was apparently the first year the event had been staged over 2 days, and our attendance on the extra day* was a disappointment. How many seafood stalls were there at the Oyster Festival 2011 Amazing Extra Day? One. One solitary, lonely & unloved stall amongst a sea of crappy tat stalls, set in the unlovely surrounds of the Ettalong Markets. Mr Chopsticks tried to cheer me up by pointing out that It Is The Central Coast, but this only served to highlight how unlike the culinary delights of Sydney the place can be. The crushing disappointment of this reminder made me cross all day.
So when I saw the ads leading up the this year’s Oyster Festival, I’d already written it off as pointless. However, our planned entertainment for that day fell through and, drifting listlessly in the sea of Ought To Do Something With Our Weekend, we decided to go.
Someone had clearly realised the last year’s Amazing Extra Day didn’t work out, and the Festival was back in it’s original home of the Ettalong foreshore, For One Day Only!
Foreshore – 100s of stalls
Having secured a nifty park some 10 minutes walk away (if you need to park nearby, you’ll need to be arriving at around dawn I should think) we fought our way through the thick of hundreds of non food related stalls – fairly wide ranging, crafty/geegaw stuff, not what we were there for, clearly popular with the locals and teeming kids – to the centre, and the food.
In a small square, set around a covered seating area, were numerous hot food stalls, wineries and at least four seafood stalls – result!
We made a beeline for the oysters. By the dozen, 2 dozen – and half doz if combined with prawns, all around the $12 per doz mark – fairly reasonable, we thought.
Oysters as salads….
with seafood platters
Hanging in bags
Spurning the delights of oysters kilpatrick, we settled on a tray from MidKnight Oysters, purely on the length of the queue outside! We chose plain old fashioned, unadorned by anything other than lemon:
There was a bottle of this hanging around which we splashed on – not firey enough for us though, we’d’ve liked some tabasco, or perhaps the possibility of some homemade dressings:
The range was pretty good though, despite there being fewer seafood stalls than other types of food; the spiral chips of The Yellow Things stall were exceedingly popular with the little people judging by the number wondering about – possibly bringing ’em back up on the bungee later on – and if I had the room I would’ve tried the Sauerkraut Sisters for sure.
As it was, the crush of humanity and the heat was getting to me and I only managed a trip to Disaster Bay Chillies to stock upon excellent Smoked Jalapeno sauce, and a nose around the several wine stalls. Wineries included Cooks lot, Petersons, Ridgeview and Thomas Hardy wines – Petersons is one of my favs, I used to be a member.
We didn’t stay for it but there were oyster opening demonstrations during the day, wood chopping competitions (I’m not making this up), a ‘how many oysters can you eat in 30 seconds’ comp that I’m gutted I missed, a stage and live music. Oh, and pony riding. Obviously.
* By all accounts the other day was better.