For the past three years, I've been a regular at the Oyster Olympics, a fundraiser for the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. This year, the US Olympic Committee decided that after eighteen years, the Oyster Olympics impinged too much on their Olympics and issued a cease-and-desist letter (losers). So, after a naming contest, they changed it to the "Oyster Games". (My losing entry was "Oysterpalooza".)
This year, I had the good fortune of going to this amazing event with four lovely ladies from the office: Kellie, Kristen, Katya, and Jane (Jane was invited for name alliteration diversity.) Kellie came with me last year; Katya and Jane are also oyster buffs. Kristen was a raw oyster virgin, having only eaten cooked oysters until now. I think we converted her. Katya shocked us all by eating a huge oyster; she apparently loves the really big oysters. Even as an oyster lover, I must admit it was too daunting for me.
Once again, I ate my way through my weight of oysters. As usual, I loved the Kumamotos and Pacificas, particularly from Hood Canal. I also found the Olympias to be a special treat; I don't recall ever eating so many Olympias before. They were the surprise highlight. I thought the Virginicas were watery this year and only OK. As usual, I don't care for the more metallic tasting European Flats.
As a special treat, I brought a flask of Ardbeg 10 years old Scotch whisky, one of my favorite whiskies and a great match with oysters. I would pour a few drops onto an oyster and slurp the whole thing down. Simple heavenly. I started handing out spiked oysters to the people serving plus any nice people I met. I soon became the Pied Piper of oysters with whisky. Jane brought a flask of Laphroaig, which was lovely with the oysters as well. Those peaty, ocean-y Islay whiskies are just ideal with oysters. Mmm.
This is always one of the highlights of my food year; this year was no exception -- even with the Grinchy USOC trying to ruin the event.
Click here for photos from the event in 2004 (I didn't take as many photos this year.)