Penn Cove Select
Penn Cove Select Oysters are Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea gigas) cultivated by Penn Cove Shellfish. They create a naturally tumbled oyster by suspending hatchery seed in SEAPA baskets attached to long lines. The Samish Bay tides which can hit 9 feet, rise and sink the baskets daily naturally tumbling the oysters. After their start in Samish Bay the oysters are finished in Whidbey Island's Penn Cove using the rack and bag method. This fattens the oysters up before harvesting.
The Penn Cove Selects have a strong shell and are easy to shuck. The shell's average 3" and are round to oval. The lightly fluted deep cups are speckled with tiny barnacles. The oysters have an antediluvian look. The cups range in color from polished bone with a green wash and dark purple highlights to nearly black. The caps are lighter, with a bone background and a green wash that gets darker closer to the lip. The depressions and edges along the growth rings are purple black. Each cap has one tiny barnacle and some have as many as 9.
The flesh is grayish tan with greenish black gills. The flesh fills about 70% to 75% of the shell and liquor fills another 15% to 20%. The oysters have a light vegetable, seaweed, sea shore smell. The liquor is medium salty. The flesh is firm and meaty up front with some chicken and smoke with a hint of salted cucumber on the finish and a bit of buttery fattiness. The salt is medium plus. The texture is not stringy or membranous.
I am drinking a Prairie Rose Meadery Basswood Traditional Mead with the oysters. The mead is sweet but well balanced with strong honey flavors. The mead and the oysters go together like salted caramels. The mead's sweetness brings out the oyster's meatiness and elicits some bacon notes and makes the meat taste richer. The honey brings out the oysters buttery notes and also calls attention to the vegetable flavors in the oyster. The oyster brings some mineral notes to the finish that give some dimension to the mead and provide a little drying. The Oysters are a no-brainer. If you can find them - buy them. I rate them 90. The pairing with the sweet mead is excellent and one I will repeat anytime I am fortunate enough to find the mead and the oysters together. These oyster will also pair well with a New England Style IPA like Junkyard Brewing's Australian Cheat Codes. The IPA's rich hop flavors will bring out the oysters vegetable and fruit notes in a pleasant way. I would also like to try these with a Sake such as Dewazakura Oka Ginjo. Farnum Hill Ciders Farnum Hill Extra Dry's trace of smoke might play well with the traces of smoke in the oyster and would make an elegant pairing.