Montreal’s not a place you’d associate with premium oysters and seriously good shuckers? Well, think again… and if you’re in town on Sunday, September 11, prepare to be pleasantly suprised at the third annual Montreal Oysterfest. The nearest sea may be hundreds of miles away but this is, after all, a food-crazed town where locals have a special weakness for all things served on crushed ice, from the insanely good snowcrab legs at Garde Manger to the exquisite urchins and mussels sourced locally and served at the Brasserie T! (when in season) – not to mention the top-notch oysters at Joe Beef and L’Orignal…
The oyster shucker at the latter, the always-energized-and-super-friendly Daniel Notkin, is the man behind the one-day festival, which will gather chefs, shuckers, wine importers, DJs and revellers in a parking lot in Old Montreal (at the corner of St. Jean and Notre Dame West streets), starting at 2 P.M. Basic entry tickets cost $35 each.
Restaurants like Joe Beef, Méchant Boeuf, Kaizen and DNA will set up tents and serve small dishes (not just oysters), in exchange for food tickets ($5 each). One food ticket, alternatively, can be exchanged for two oysters (or two tickets for five oysters). Big discounts are given to those who purchase tickets in advance, either at L’Orignal or the Burgundy Lion pub.
Judging by the last two editions, the happening is a cheery blend between a communal picnic and outdoor party, with booze flowing freely and a great-looking crowd. Or, as Notkin puts it, the Oysterfest is “a humble little gathering of great friends, great food, two bands, great beverage producers and the best shuckers in the country – nay, the world! – all to celebrate a little something called ‘The Oyster’ and Montreal’s passion for all things wonderful.”
Montreal Oysterfest, September 11, 2011, 2-9pm, The Pigeon Hole Parking Lot (Rue St Jean & Notre Dame West)