Cancale, France

This is an oyster farm in Cancale which is situated in Mont Saint Michel bay on the Emerald Coast in Brittany. The most common oyster found here is the Creuse. The fast changing tides and fresh water supply create a perfect environment for oysters. They need brackish water for nutrients, oxygen, and the tides make them accessible for cultivation and harvest.

There is a little market of about 5 stalls selling fresh, very reasonably priced, oysters. After making your selection you can enjoy them on the seawall overlooking the farm or take them home with you. The seawall has hundreds of places to sit, but can fill up quickly, which is also true with the parking situation. So arrive early!
If you do decide to take oysters home with you, they can last up to two weeks. The key to their freshness is the strong muscle that locks the shell shut thereby trapping water inside. Ever see sellers tapping shells together? They are ensuring the oysters are holding water!

About every 30 minutes, a truck will head from the bay to La Ferme Marine de Cancale carrying oysters. 

Le Ferme Marine de Cancale is where the mollusks are filtered from sand etc. and inspected for crate packing to be shipped all around the world. The oysters you see took 3 years to grow from a small skittle size shell to what you see.

Le Ferme Marine de Cancale offers informative tours to the public. Unfortunately, they only offer tours in English in the summer so we did our best to listen and more importantly watch. The tour is only €7 and they cover a lot, plus you get to sample oysters!

L'Atelier de l'Huitre was recommended to us. I ordered oysters of every size so I could taste the difference. No.1 being the biggest and No.5 the smallest. I preferred the smaller ones, simply more brininess on the palate. They were so fresh and delicious that a drop of lemon was all they needed. For me, cucumber was the dominant flavor. The traditional pairing is with a Muscadet wine, which is grown in the western end of the Loire Valley bordering Brittany.

All along the bay, it is one big restaurant row, restaurant after restaurant serving prized oysters. Don't worry if bivalves aren't your thing, there are plenty of other options, however it really is all about these delightful little shellfish.   


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