Gillardeau, Bluepoint, Amélie
Branding plays a bigger and bigger role in the sale of oysters. The oyster farmers try to create attractive brands around their own oysters so that customers feel attracted to their particular products.
Gillardeau, Perle Blanche, Amélie, Bluepoint, Malpeque, Marennes Oléron are some of the famous oyster names that you can find in oyster serving places in U.S. or in Europe. They are all brands for specific oysters with specific characteristics representing the 'merrior' of the sea where they are growing.
In France, there are a number of different oyster brands, as well as a national system for classifying the quality of oysters.
Gillardeau is a French oyster farming family that makes some very attractive French oysters. They are so attractive and branded that some of the oysters are engraved with a (G) to determine their origin. The starting point is the Gillardeau family's many years of work with oysters, which takes place in Western France near the town of La Rochelle.
It is not a small production that takes place under the auspices of the Gillardeau family. Around 2000 tons of oysters are made there every year. Therefore, there are also different qualities of Gillardeau oysters. For the first two years, the oysters grow up either in Normandy or in County Cork in Ireland, after which they move to basins near La Rochelle.
Moving oysters to special basins - or claires as they are called in French - is not at all as unusual as you might think. It helps to provide the oyster with particularly good growth conditions.
Full-bodied and soft with a nutty aftertaste are some of the characteristics attached to the Gillardeau oyster.
Promotion of Amélie oysters at Bon Marché in Paris
La Perle Blanche is the name of another oyster brand. This is an oyster that comes from Normady, specifically Utah Beach, where the Allies landed in 1944.
The coast along Normandy is suitable for oyster farming due to the large tidal differences. This ensures that the oyster is in periods under water and in other periods above. At the same time, the tide brings new supplies of plankton to the coast, where the oyster is located. And since oysters are nourished by plankton, it provides really good growth conditions. Perle Blanche is good to try for the not so experienced oyster-eater. It is mild in taste and does not have the sharp taste of sea that sometimes characterizes oysters.
Bluepoint (or Blue Point) oysters come (mostly) from Long Island close to New York in U.S.. It belongs to the Eastern oyster species. This is often called the most famous oyster in America and has for many years been regular part of the new yorkers oyster menu. They are always on the menu cart at 'The Grand Central Station Oyster Bar' in New York.
Most bluepoint oysters grow in the Long Island Sound although originally the brand is related to the town of Blue Point at the southern part of Long Island. Many different oyster farmers grow Bluepoint oysters from different areas which means that the quality differs quite a lot.
Some farmers brand their Bluepoint oysters in order to highlight their specific quality. Copps Island bluepoint oysters are an example of this. Naked Cowboys is another branding of the Bluepoint oysters coming from the Long Island Sound.
It is not only in France and U.S. branding plays a central role. The British and Irish are also branding their oysters. Jersey Oyster is the name of an English oyster that is farmed on the English island, Jersey, which lies in the English Channel, between France and England. And the Achill Oyster is the brand on an Irish oyster growing in Western Ireland, on the island of Achill. This is a relatively new production.
Jersey Oyster, like Gillardeau oysters, is based on a family company with long traditions for oyster farming. Watch a short video about the Jersey Oyster here. 1200 tonnes of oysters are farmed each year.
Copps Island bluepoint (US)