Bald Point Oysters
Bald Point Oysters are Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea gigas) cultivated on an intertidal beach at the south end of Washington's Hood Canal where it makes the sharp turn west called the Great Bend. The water at the Hood Canal's south end is earthier and less salty than the water on the north end closer to the sea. Intertidal beach raised oysters are tough, having to daily fight the Hood canal's 14 foot tides and having to clamp tightly shut during low tides to preserve their liquor and avoid predators. This firms up the meat, strengthens the abductor muscle and lengthens the oyster's shelf life. Beach life for the oysters also produces tough shells that are easy to shuck.
I picked up a dozen and the oval to teardrop shaped shell sizes range from 2" to 3" and have moderate to moderately deep cups. The caps are ashen stone greenish grey with darker algae green highlights. Some have dark purple stripes near the lip. Many of the cups have fluted edges and have a rough paleolithic look with a wash of various shades of green. Tiny barnacles dot the the cups and caps. The meat is light tan with dirty pea green to nearly black gills.
The oysters have a seaweed tidal pool smell with very light earthy muskiness and traces of floral. The smell is very much what you might smell standing on a beach at the souther end of the Hood Canal with the aroma of the canal blending together with the scent of the pines covering the canal's banks. The meat takes up most of the shell with the liquor occupying only 5% to 10%. The liquor is moderately salty and briny and helps season the meat. The meat has a firm, meaty, buttery texture and is not membraneous or gristley. There are traces of egg yolk in the oyster joined by mushroom, broth, vegetal and a hint of brie. The brininess is medium and the oysters finishes with a mineral taste that has a slight astringent touch. A very interesting piny mint flavor shows up in the aftertaste.
I am drinking a wild Mind Second Man on the Moon (6.2% alcohol by volume) with these oysters. It is a Brett Pale Ale and the salt from the oysters brings out the pale ale's fruit flavors while the beer's carbonation refreshes the palate but does not totally wash out the oyster. The Pale Ale's fruit flavors also help identify a light sweetness in the oyster especially after the bite. Neither the oyster nor the beer dominates the flavor but they help pick out notes in each other. This is very nice - I rate the oyster, the beer and the pairing 90. A dozen oysters and a bomber of beer pretty much finish at the same time.