Eight reasons to get shucked at Narooma Oyster Festival | HerCanberra

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Eight reasons to get shucked at Narooma Oyster Festival

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Love all things oysters and sustainable seafood (not to mention live music, markets and much more)?

Want a sneak peek at what’s in store at the new Ottoman before it opens in Canberra? You’ll want to head south to the Narooma Oyster Festival on 3 and 4 May.

Southern NSW’s largest food and wine event celebrates the Rock Oyster on the shores of Wagonga Inlet and boasts a two-day program blending cosmopolitan and Indigenous food experiences with transformative tastings, live music, food markets, and an impressive selection of celebrated wines, beers and spirits.

Here are 10 reasons to get shucked at the Narooma Oyster Festival.

1.Chef Hao Chen from RAKU is bringing his sushi game

If you’ve ever eaten at RAKU (and if you haven’t, you really should), you’ll know what a delight Chef Hao Chen is. And his food? Well, it’s simply exceptional. And you can get a front row seat the festival.

Catch Chef out of his natural habitat of the RAKU kitchen in the Betta Home Living Cooking Demonstration Program at 1.15 pm on Saturday 4 May.

Marvel at Chef’s finely honed skills as he shows you how to create Kingfish sashimi with yuzu truffle dressing, Rock Oysters with Tosazu dressing, and Rock Oysters with Miso cream vinegar.

2. Get a taste of The Ottoman before it opens

Chef Hao Chen isn’t the only high profile foodie starring at the festival. The Ottoman’s Serif Kaya will be showcasing his skills in a cooking demonstration alongside equally impressive industry luminaries like Corey Costelloe (Formerly of Rockpool Group), Elodie Marion (Mimi’s Sydney), Belinda Dorsett (Mossy Group) and Courtney Roulston (Farm to Fork).

If you’ve been craving your Ottoman fix and simply can’t wait until its doors open in Canberra this winter, here’s your chance to get a sneak peek! Serif will be strutting his stuff alongside local seafood in the Betta Home Living Cooking Demonstration Program at 12.15 pm on Saturday 4 May.

3. You can be in the first-ever (French) Champagne & Rock Oyster Masterclass with John Noble from the Champagne Bureau!

Ultimate Oyster Experience

Name a better combination…we’ll wait. This Champagne & Rock Masterclass on Saturday 4 May celebrates the relationship between the terroirs of Champagne and the merroirs of Rock Oyster Country.

Presented by Champagne Bureau director John Noble, you will discover how unique environmental conditions and cultivation techniques impart distinctive characteristics to each and create a taste sensation when paired.

This experience is a terroirs-driven tasting of six Champagne cuvees which represent a cross-section of the diversity of Champagne wines, presented with 2024 Sydney Royal Fine Food Show Gold Medallist Rock Oysters from Wapengo Lake, Wallis Lake, Pambula Lake and Nelson Lagoon.

Tickets here.

4. Taste the merroir of a 1500km coastline in just 50 metres

Campagne and Oyster Cruise. Credit: Eurobodalla Tourism.

Around 65,000 oysters are harvested, shucked and quaffed at the festival and a good portion of those are found in Oyster Farmers Alley.

Here, purists can taste Rock Oysters from estuaries right along the coast and discover that no two are alike. If you’re a little unsure of a natural oyster there’s plenty of hot and cold topped rocks to choose from too, plus lobster, caviar, seafood pies and prawns too!

5. You can arrive by seaplane (or kayak to an oyster farm during Rock Oyster Week)

I mean, you could drive? But there are far more memorable ways to explore the waterways during Rock Oyster Week.

Get a bird’s eye view of the estuaries with South Coast Sea Planes, where Wagonga Inlet becomes the perfect runway for takeoff and landing. It’s a truly special way to soak in the region’s natural beauty.

Or why not work up an appetite with a kayaking culinary adventure with Region X on the Clyde River?  A gentle paddle to the Farm Gate on Wray Street finishes with the ultimate payoff of fresh oysters straight from the water.

6. You can hold Australia’s Biggest Oyster (two hands please!).

Australia’s Biggest Oyster. Credit: David Rogers Photography.

This is one oyster you CAN’T eat (but you will be able to get some 500g pearlers in Oyster Farmers Alley).

Australia’s Biggest Oyster is a bit like a pet parade for oysters and their growers. Launched in 2019, the current record is held by ‘Jill’ a 2.74kg whopper grown by champion Bernie Connell in the Clyde River at Batemans Bay.

This festival favourite shines a light on the Pacific Oyster, a species that can grow to weigh several kilograms and live for up to a decade!

After the winner is crowned, you can meet the farmers and see the oysters up close.

7. You can see who will represent Australia at the World Oyster Shucking Championships!

Oyster Alley

Shell grit? Penalty! A cut in the oyster? Penalty! Blood? Disqualification!

Australia’s Oyster Shucking Championships is one of the most unique races you will ever experience – get along to watch the best in the trade (from across several states!) in action! It’s a whole lot of fun.

8. Live music always sounds better beside the sea.

It’s a scientific fact. Ok, not actually, but there’s no denying your ears are in for a real treat with 12 acts on two stages over two big days.

Friday’s Night Warm-up      Benji and the Saltwater Sound System, Robyn Martin and more. On Saturday, Dom Turner and the Rural Blues Project and The SunBears lead a line-up featuring Jackson Carroll, Dan Cully and more.

There’s also a great line-up of dance, drumming and more music on the Narooma Plaza Community Stage.

And lots more!

There’s even more to explore at the Narooma Oyster Festival – check out everything on offer at naroomaoysterfestival.com. What are you waiting for? It’s a fabulous shucking road trip!


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