Oysters: When compulsive shucking leads to……….early nights or a trip to A&E.

Have you ever wondered why oysters have a reputation as an aphrodisiac?

Me too. They’ve contrived, over the years, to ruin countless ‘hot’ dates, despite their legendary powers to boost libido and jump start some ‘horizontal jogging’.

We can blame this X-rated nonsense on Latin lothario and adventurer, Giacomo Casanova.

This serial ‘damsel botherer’ claimed to eat 50 oysters for breakfast every day and swore they were the reason for his limitless prowess in the boudoir. Thus, the legend of oysters affecting sex drive was born.

But is there anything to it? Probably not. Oysters are a hefty source of zinc, which is necessary for a healthy male ‘swimmers’ count, but in my experience, that’s where the science ends and misery begins.

These bivalve molluscs have repeatedly sabotaged date nights, wine tasting evenings and the very thought of them sends a slippery shiver down my spine.

Date Horror #1

Picture the scene: I’d just arrived in London Dick Whittington-style from the South West, Tinder was yet to be ‘a thing’ and I’d been set up on a date by a mutual friend.

 I’d picked a wine bar near Bank and while I was waiting for my date to arrive, started scanning the premises for specials boards and wines of the month for anything vaguely interesting. A mental note of Oysters was taken…..

Then she arrived – a vision of beauty. I was out of my depth. Mild panic. Heart racing. Sandra Bullock had just been nudged out of my top 5.

Miraculously things started off ok - She was completely normal, I hadn’t let myself down (yet!) and my thoughts were gently wafting towards what kind of flowers she might like at our wedding.

Then I got brave. “How about some Oysters?”.

She gave it the thumbs up and within seconds, we were presented with 12 oysters with all the trimmings. Wondering how best to tackle them, I got nervous again.

 Then the Meg Ryan/Reese Witherspoon hybrid began to tell a story.

I started with a few drops of Tabasco.

She continued the story.

I forgot what I was doing.

A Tabasco lake was forming.

And then, without warning, we clinked shells and they disappeared down the hatch. Hers down her throat as expected, mine made a dramatic lunge for my trachea. There’s a reason we breathe Oxygen and not Tabasco. My eyes started welling up and launched into a 2 hour long coughing fit as my lungs wrestled with the Oyster/Hot Sauce irritant.

I got a second date purely out of charity…..


Date Horror #2:

Oysters and Champagne were summoned.

I’d mentally recovered from Oyster-gate and my now fiancée (there were quite a few more dates in between) and I were out celebrating a new job. We’d both made an ‘effort’ and she was sporting a brand new summery Kate Spade dress.

And I was confident enough to order Oysters again without a hazmat suit, complete with breathing apparatus.

I stood up to get more drinks, unwittingly spear-tackling the waiter carrying the oysters, and the full tray, oysters, condiments, shallots, “Jackson-Pollocked” all over the late Kate’s handiwork.

Ironically, trying to dig myself out of a Spade-based hole, I made an ill-advised gag about “shallot of mess”.

The date was abruptly discontinued and I was informed my libido would be ‘locked up’ until my birthday. This was early February and I’m an Aries….

Footnote: The Gobillard Baron de Marck Champagne was a marvellous accompaniment and the free glass my fiancée received while we waited for our Uber went some way to prolonging my life expectancy.

Wine tasting disaster:

In order to jazz up a more run of the mill wine tasting, we decided to organise an oyster cart for guests to accompany their Champagne, Cava and white wines.

Everything went marvellously until my colleague, who had never had Oysters before, declared triumphantly that they were the most delicious morsels she had ever eaten.

She ate a lot.

She was allergic.

It remains the only time I’ve called 999 in anger.

She went blue.

The Ambulance staff were incredible.

She lived.

We never got oysters back to tastings.

Date Horror #3:

I got a bad one. If you’re interested, the reason for this food poisoning is vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that grows in estuaries and along the coast, the places you find oysters too. Enough said.

I think all I’m trying to say, is when ordering oysters, just be aware of the pitfalls. They can be magnificent, you can have them grilled or raw (my preference) and season them any way you like.

Try them with Fizz – Our St. Michelle Sparkling  from the USA would be perfect if you want to branch out from the well-trodden path that is Champagne.

Or wash them down with a glass of Castelo do Mar Albarino – it’s International Albarino week after all.