Cancale: Oysters and Racing Tides

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When the tide goes out, the oystermen drive their trucks between the beds to harvest the bivalves, the way vignerons go through their rows of grapevines.  And, when the tide comes in, so do the workers – the Bay’s tides are among the fastest in the world and no one who knows the sea would be foolish enough not to respect them. 

As the tide turns, the trucks, piled high with sacks of oysters, bump and rumble their way along the main street.  By the time the water is almost in, only a truck or two remains on the “farm” and, for sure, it stays close to the seawall.

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I guess it goes without saying that the oysters we ate just a few yards from the beds were among the freshest imaginable.  But they were also some of the best I’ve ever had.  Their flavor was clean and pure, their texture full and smooth and they could have defined brininess. 

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If all Cancale had was oysters, it would deserve its status as a Site of Remarkable Taste

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But Cancale is home to Olivier Roellinger as well, about whom I have much to tell – I just don’t have time now.  

Dorie Greenspan

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