Live Fire Republic has ventured across the Atlantic, far from the glitz and glamour of Paris, to discover the world’s most pristine oysters. We’ve landed in the Bordeaux region of Southern France! It’s here that we’re amidst a 4-part Destination Series, from the historic Chateaus and Vineyards of St. Emillion, though Bordeaux City, to the icy blue, oyster-rich waters of Arcachon Bay. I promise, my friends, you don’t want to miss this!!
In Episode 3, Destination: Arcachon Bay, Chef David Olson ventures to the far western short of Southern France. And, by a matter of happenstance, his path crossed with Joël Cabane 21 Station des Gus.
Joel and his family have a rich history in this portion of the world. They are the 2nd oldest family to hunt, farm and harvest oysters in the famed Arcachon Bay. Today, Joel not only operates a successful sustainable oyster farming business and renowned oyster tasting bar in Andernos-les-Bains. His prized oysters are some of the most pristine and sought-after in the world. And, today are featured in some of the most acclaimed restaurants around the world.
Joel is a passionate oyster advocate and highly knowledgeable industry expert. During this interview he raises awareness to the threats facing the oyster ecosystem. And, urges balance amidst the country’s growing push for commercial gains from increased tourism and traffic. Joel, alongside his partner Sasha, has a remarkable story to share, and I’m excited for you to hear it directly from them.
DESTINATION: ARCACHON BAY, PART 1 | DISCOVERING THE WORLD’S MOST PRISTINE OYSTERS!
In Part 1 of this episode you’ll get to hear their incredible story and account first hand. Next week, in part 2, we’re setting sail onto the high seas alongside Joel and his team of merry men. We’ll earn our keep by partaking in the labor-intensive work of oyster farming. We’ll wrestle against the dramatic shifts in tides to harvest our own oysters in the historic hunting grounds of Arcachon. And, afterwards, we’re preparing among the most incredible seaside live fire shellfish feasts you may have ever seen.
I promise, you don’t want to miss this. Stay hungry!
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BRIEF BACKGROUND AND HISTORY OF ARCACHON BAY AND THEIR PRISTINE OSYTERS
Embark on a delicious and historic journey in Arcachon Bay! Oysters have been harvested and savored here since Roman times. This delicacy is harvested in 26 farms across the area’s 700 acres of oyster beds, producing over 8,000 tonnes of Pacific cupped oysters per year. Four oyster-farming areas – each with its own flavor palette – ensure there’s something for every oyster lover.
This shellfish is typically consumed raw with a simple squeeze of lemon and a glass of white wine. Visitors to the area can enjoy fresh oysters at any time of year, as many farmers open their huts to the public for tastings and sales of their products.
For a deeper dive into the world of oyster farming, head to the Oyster House museum in Gujan-Mestras. This interactive and engaging space shares the history of the oyster throughout the ages, as well as farming and breeding techniques.
If you’re visiting during the summer months, be sure to check out one of the area’s several oyster festivals. Andernos-les-Bains and Lanton host festivities in July, while Gujan-Mestras and Arès have their celebrations in August. Sample oysters in a fun, festive atmosphere, surrounded by fellow seafood enthusiasts.
Whether you’re a longtime oyster lover or new to this culinary delicacy, Arcachon Bay is the perfect destination. Come for the pristine oysters, stay for the incredible scenery, warm hospitality, and unforgettable memories.