Festive Gastronomy Series - When Oyster Meets the New World

Festive Gastronomy Series - When Oyster Meets the New World

Silent night~ Holy night~

Christmas is less than one month away, and many of us are preparing for the festive season, planning for parties with friends and relatives.  With this in mind, we invite you to follow our Festive Gastronomy Series filled with recommendations on great wines and superb food pairing ideas, so that you and your guests can enjoy the holidays to the fullest!

The heavenly pairing of oysters and wine has long been the trend among discerning gourmands.  Recently, door-to-door oyster delivery has become a very popular service in Hong Kong.  Connoisseurs can choose the finest oysters of the season and have them delivered directly to their homes.  When guests arrive, the oysters are shucked in front of them so that they can taste the magnificent, fresh flavours of the bivalves, which go perfectly with fruity wines of high acidity.

You may ask, which region's oysters are now in season? The answer is those from the northern hemisphere are currently at their peak. These include oyster varieties from the United States, Canada and Europe. At this time of the year, oysters are particularly sweet and juicy. However, as modern cultivation technology is becoming more developed and advanced, prime oysters can be harvested throughout the year.

The most popular oyster variety among Hong Kong people is perhaps the Geay from France. Its rich, fresh briny flavour and creamy texture delight the palates of many oyster lovers. Another French oyster, Gillardeau, is also a big hit with its soft, fleshy and delicate texture and intensely salty taste. These two oyster types go particularly well with Sacred Hill Whitecliff Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay from New Zealand. This wine’s complexity comes from the French oak casks they mature in, as well as the aroma of apricot, peach and orange peel that match perfectly with the delicate smoothness and savoury taste of the raw oysters, awakening your taste buds and imparting the essence of the sea salt that lingers on and on in your mouth.

Another New Zealand white wine - Sacred Hill Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, has a high acidity content with rich aromas of grapefruit and passion fruit, making it an ideal wine pairing with St. Vaast oysters or Viking Marée oysters, both of which have a briny freshness, a crisp tang and an overall bold taste. The French premium Belon0000, which has a rich mineral flavour, is another tasty choice with this Sauvignon Blanc. Not only does this pairing make the raw oysters taste sublime, it also leaves a refreshing and sweet finish.

Raw oysters are most often paired with white or sparkling wines, but if you are adventurous to pair them with reds, there are surely many great wines to choose from. The simplest way to drink red wine with oysters is to add different ingredients such as bacon, cheese, onion or other sauces to make baked oysters, which match perfectly with the tannins in your red wine. For example, the rich mineral flavours and the aromas of plum, and red berries found in Whitecliff Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet go together beautifully with cheese and spinach baked oysters, where the full flavours of the cheese and the supple palate of wine create a unique chemistry of taste, balance, and smoothness.

Sacred Hill Helmsman Cabernet Merlot, which is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, presents a strong aroma of chocolate, black berries and spices.  Its characteristic aroma and full-bodied style match flawlessly with bacon and onion baked oysters.  Ensure you don’t lose a drop of the juice in the oyster in order to enjoy the intensity and complexity of every sip of wine to the fullest.