Aphrodisiac or not, oysters have a history linked to pleasure, whether it be the association derived from myth, or, simply from eating them. In Roman times they were bought by their weight in gold. Casanova considered them to be a potent aphrodisiac who ate a dozen every night to assist him in his adventures. In Australia oysters were first coveted by Aborigines, then by European settlers who had exhausted native oyster beds by the mid 1800’s and oyster farming began. One reason is not only were oysters used for their meat, but also their shells which were burnt at a very high temperature to make lime for mortar. Oyster farming is the oldest aquaculture industry in Australia. Prior to farming, oysters were dredged or collected from their natural beds until the stocks were depleted – in some cases completely for both their meat and lime. There are three main species of oysters farmed in Australia; Sydney Rock Oysters, Pacific Oysters and Angasi or Flat Oysters which are similar to Belon Oysters.
Sydney Rock Oyster
native to Australia, cultivated since the late 1800’s. Grown from south east Queensland, along the New South Wales coast and in Western Australia.
A soft oyster of rich savoury flavour with subtle mineral and herbaceous finish. Just like the Pacific oyster there are many taste and texture variations.
Peak in late spring through to autumn with availability all year across Qld, NSW and WA.
Did you know:
Rock oysters can take up to 4 years to reach maturity. They can live out of water and remain in prime condition for up to 2 weeks if kept out of direct sunlight and in a cool, moist condition. The best method for storage is in a hessian sack.
Introduced from Japan in the 1940’s and the most common in Australia. Grown in southern Australian waters of South Australia and Tasmania, and in some New South Wales estuaries.
From Tas and NSW – A firm oyster with a refreshing salty, sweet ocean burst and subtle herbaceous flavour. From SA – A firm oyster with a refreshing sweet ocean burst and pleasant saltiness. Many variation between regions and even between growers!
Peak in winter and spring with availability all year across NSW, Tas and SA.
Did you know:
pacific oysters are the most common oyster in the world and take between 18 – 24 months to reach maturity.
Angasi (or flat) Oysters
Native to Australia but frown in small quantities around the Australian coastline.
a firm oyster of full bodied flavour with subtle mineral and herbaceous finish.
peak in autumn and winter with availability all year across NSW, Tas and SA.
Some of the information about each oyster is courtesy of FRDC. Interested in expert and interesting information about Australian seafood? Head to fishfiles