Marennes Farmer Creates Lemon-Flavored Oysters

Marennes Farmer

Marennes is well-known as the oyster capital of France, but one particular oyster farmer from the area stands out. 29-year-old Joffrey Dubault specializes in farming flavored oysters, and this holiday season, he has a new lemon-flavored variety.

Dubault creates these flavored oysters by adding flavor extracts to the oysters' water before harvesting them. For example, for the lemon-flavored oysters, he puts a certain amount of lemon extract into the water. Then, he leaves the oysters to soak in the lemon solution for anywhere from two to twelve hours.

The oysters actually absorb the flavor by breathing it in. As their gills filter water, the extract gets absorbed into their bodies, infusing them with flavor. This is actually a huge oversimplification; Dubault says that the whole process takes 16 complicated steps. It took him years of experimentation to get it right and would be extremely difficult to replicate. Even Dubault has to dispose of about five percent of his oysters because sometimes the process fails.

Dubault says he first got the idea from customers who asked for lemons to go along with the oysters they bought. He decided to find out if he could infuse the oysters with lemon flavor before harvesting them.

Dubault's flavorful inventions have been internationally lauded, and he now has a company called So'ooh. Due to his popularity with Asian customers, he created a ginger-flavored oyster. He has many flavors now, including muscatel wine and raspberry. He plans to add other flavors like truffle and plum in the next few years. One flavor he says he will never add is chocolate, despite the fact that many people have requested it.

Ironically, the people who are least receptive to the idea of flavored oysters are Dubault's own countrymen. The French prefer to buy traditional oysters and find Dubault's projects unappealing. His business is going well anyway, thanks to the interest from other Europeans and Asians.

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