Oyster and wine pairing!

The subject of oysters is an interesting topic. People either like them, hate them or don’t trust eating them. If you dislike or don’t trust them them, it’s probably because they weren’t properly prepared. Oysters are a tricky. If you serve them raw or cooked, they have to be super fresh to begin with. Luckily, we’ve never had a bad batch of oysters. I hope that streak never ends!

Several weeks ago, we saw on Facebook that there was going to be a oyster and wine paring at Fork in Old City. We purchased our tickets and waited patiently. Last week, the day finally arrived. When we first got to the restaurant, we learned that the event was actually being held at High Street on Market. It’s right next door to Fork and it’s their sister restaurant. When we first walked in, we loved the decor of High Street. It was warm and cozy, yet rustic. The low lighting added to the cozy atmosphere.

We were greeted by a super friendly staff and given complimentary glass of sparkling wine. A very nice way to start the evening! There were also delicious passed hors d’oeuvres. The place filled up quickly and we found a table to begin the feast. The oysters were supplied by Sweet Amalia Oyster Farm in Cape May, New Jersey. They are a family operated farm that you can visit and lend them a helping hand if you are so inclined. Lisa Ragone Calvo from Sweet Amalia was on hand this evening as well to talk about the family business and give a brief talk about oysters. She was also more than happy to answer any questions.

So, on to the oysters! The first course was oysters on the half shell with a rhubarb mignonette. It was paired with a 2016 Pinnacle Ridge Brut Rose from the Lehigh Valley. Both were wonderful. You didn’t get a hint of the brininess that you could taste with raw oysters. These were delicious and the wine was a spot on pairing.

The second course was roasted oysters with green garlic butter, parmesan cheese and hot sauce. It was paired with a 2014 Greffiere, Macon-la-Roche-Vinuse Chardonnay from France. Again, both were outstanding. We couldn’t honestly decide if we like the first or second course better! The garlic butter tasted fantastic with the oysters, and the hot sauce gave it just the right amount of heat. The chardonnay paired so well and tempered any heat you got from the hot sauce.

The third course was a green circle chicken with oyster stuffing, spring onion, grilled ramps and oyster mushrooms. It was paired with a 2016 Feudo Di Santa Tresa, Terre, Siciliane Frappato. Once again, an outstanding dish. The chicken was juicy and tender, and the oyster stuffing was a perfect accompaniment. The spring onion and grilled ramps had a fantastic char on them. The wine was bold and a perfect paring with this dish. Our only disappointment was the temperature of the chicken. It was served to us lukewarm. I can understand the difficulty of serving the same dish to 40 or so guests at the same time but it just needed to be hotter. Otherwise, no complaints. Everything was delicious!

For the dessert course, we were served a wonderful tiramisu, but with a twist. It was made with espresso sabayon, madeleine cake, sesame cocoa nib chocolate and served with a side of coffee ice cream. Incredibly creative and delicious. Both the tiramisu and coffee ice cream were wonderful but I felt that they could have been served separately. The espresso of the tiramisu was enough of a coffee flavor that you really didn’t need a coffee ice cream. A different flavor ice cream would have worked very well but again, both were delicious.

This was such a wonderful event to attend. We met so many friendly people and got to dine at a fantastic restaurant. We learned a little more about oysters and how difficult it is to farm them. The farmers are at the mercy of the weather and have to adapt at a moments notice. I would encourage everyone to visit Sweet Amalia Oyster Farm and get your feet wet, literally. Spend some time there and help them out. You’ll learn quite a bit about oysters and really appreciate the folks that work hard to supply them to our restaurants and grocery stores. And please go try out High Street on Market. The food and service were excellent. We’ll definitely be back!

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