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The Whitstable Oysters

Raw materials/Variety/Race

The Whitstable Oysters PGI are shell fish of the Ostrea edulis and Crassostrea gigas species.

Method of working/Cultivation/Breeding

The oysters are fed on microscopic algae. When they are 3 mm long they are placed in outside hatcheries to acclimatise and then transferred to the oyster beds. After a growing period of between three and five years they are harvested during the spring tides. They are washed, graded and placed in depuration tanks for two days, rinsed in fresh water and packed.

Aspect and Taste

Whitstable Oysters PGI of the Ostrea edulis species are rounded while the Crassostrea gigas oysters are known as "concave oysters" because the shell has an elongated oval and slightly concave shape. The meat of both species is fat and succulent.

Production Zone

Whitstable Oysters PGI are farmed along the coast of Whitstable in the county of Kent, in South East England.


Whitstable Oysters PGI have a long history on this part of the British coast dating back to Roman times, when this shell fish was already known and greatly appreciated.


Whitstable Oysters PGI should be stored in the least cold part of the refrigeretor in a sealed, food grade plastic bag to prevent the oysters from opening. It is also best to open the fridge as little as possible as oysters are very sensitive to changes in temperature. Oysters cannot be stored for long therefore they should be eaten as soon as possible. Care should be taken to remove the dead ones which are easily recognised because they open completely. Whitstable Oysters PGI, like all bivalve shell fish, are easy to digest. They are usually opened with an oyster knife, placed on a bed of ice and salt without removing the internal liquid and eaten raw. They can be dressed with lemon and pepper. They can also be cooked briefly in hot water or oyster gratin can be baked in the oven. They are excellent with Champagne.


These oysters are sold as Whitstable Oysters PGI. They are sold in various numbers, in food grade wood or cardboard boxes.

Distinctive features

Whitstable Oysters PGI are famous particularly for their size, being larger than other varieties of oyster and for their succulence.

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