Frenchman invents lemony oysters in time for holidays

Above, a person shucks a So’ooh flavored oyster in Marennes, southwestern France. Seafood farmer Joffrey Dubault farms some 40 tons of the bivalves each year, and took him four years of hits and misses to perfect the flavored oyster. (AFP)
Updated 24 December 2017
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Frenchman invents lemony oysters in time for holidays

MARENNES, France: A French seafood farmer is proposing lemon-flavored oysters this holiday season, a delicacy he perfected after four years of trial-and-error experiments in his garage.
Joffrey Dubault, 29, also offers oysters flavored with shallots, another perennial accompaniment usually served finely chopped and floating in vinegar.
“It was pretty discouraging at first when I had to throw out 90 percent,” the lanky oyster farmer says, a baseball cap shielding his blue eyes. “Now I have a 95-percent success rate.”
The process, which Dubault has patented, involves plunging the oysters into a tank of sea water laced with lemon extract for between two and 12 hours.
The oysters naturally pump the water through sieve-like gills, becoming impregnated with the flavor.
The technique may seem simple but “there are 16 steps to the process, and if any one of them isn’t done correctly the result is failure,” says Dubault, who farms some 40 tons of the bivalves each year off Marennes, France’s oyster capital on the west coast.
Dubault, who says he got the idea from customers at his market stall constantly asking him to throw in a lemon along with their purchase, began marketing the pre-flavored oysters in October and has found buyers from Belgium to Hong Kong.
He won recognition for his invention at a seafood trade fair in Brussels last April when he said Chinese visitors congratulated him, saying they had been attempting a similar feat for seven years.
The nod in Brussels encouraged Dubault to set up his company, called So’ooh, to market the novelty.
Targeting Asian clients, he has created a ginger version, while oysters flavored with muscatel, the sweet fortified wine, are aimed at the Italian palate.
Next year he plans to add grapefruit and mirabelle plum to his flavor menu, Dubault says, while truffle and pepper versions will follow for the next end-of-year holidays.
“People have asked me to add chocolate, but I say no way!” he exclaims.
Of all his customers, the French are the hardest to win over, he says, calling them “purists.”
But he is hopeful, having recently signed on with a major supermarket chain.
“People eat flavored yoghurts and drink flavored water, so why not oysters?” he asks.
Then there are his raspberry-flavored oysters, aimed at young people. It is a future-looking strategy, since the average age of oyster lovers “is fairly advanced,” he says.


Saudi Arabia’s Jazan recognized for its 60 mango varieties

Updated 20 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s Jazan recognized for its 60 mango varieties

  • The Jazan region celebrates its cultivation of mangoes at an annual mango festival that takes place between the end of April and the beginning of May.
  • 60 varieties of mangoes are grown in the region.

London: The Jazan region will be granted a geographical indication for mangoes grown there. A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin.
Mangoes were first grown in the region in 1982 when the Argricultural Research Center started growing varieties from the US, Egypt, and Australia to see how they would grow in the region, according to the Saudi Press Agency. It appeared that all varieties of mango grew well in Jazan.
The research center continued to introduce new varieties of mango from several countries around the world until 60 varieties were grown in the region. The Jazan region produces 30,000 tons of mangoes annually.
The Jazan region celebrates its cultivation of mangoes at its annual mango festival that takes place between the end of April and the beginning of May. The festival contributes to developing tourism, showcases the region’s produce and highlights the investment opportunities that it offers.
The head of the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA) in Jazan Ghanem Al-Juz’an said that “the mango is considered one of the most important tropical products in Jazan” and that mango cultivation in the region is very successful due to the suitable climate and soil.