La ria de Merrien est la plus préservée des rias de FInistère sud.
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Oysters: the perfect festive dish

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A real treasure from our South Finistère rias, oysters are synonymous with festivities, just like the festive season. Whether served as an aperitif or as part of a seafood platter, oysters are a real hit with shellfish lovers!

The oyster, a tasty treasure from our rias

There are 6 rias in Destination Quimperlé les rias: the Aven, the Bélon, Brigneau, Merrien, Doëlan and the Laïta. These are all natural areas where the sea mingles with the rivers, creating an incomparable larder for growing shellfish: between salt water and fresh water, the conditions are ideal for maturing oysters and mussels. Popular for their iodised flavour, Brittany's oysters owe their distinctive character to the merroir, which is specific to this environment. Oysters matured in the rias benefit from rich, plankton-filled water.

Le port de Rosbras propose de nombreux mouillages sur l'Aven.

It was in Roman times that oysters were elevated to the rank of luxury food. Even then, the River Bélon was a renowned and exploited source of supply, with its own Roman road. These molluscs lived in a natural state, attached to a rocky substrate until the wild oyster beds, overexploited each season, disappeared completely. At the end of the 19th century, the first concessions were granted to private individuals to exploit part of the foreshore where the oyster spat would grow.

Les parcs ostréicoles sont directement installées dans la ria du Bélon.

Discovering the natural oysters of Merrien

In the Merrien ria, the Kermagoret family has been farming and refining oysters since 1960. We met Marine Kermagoret, the 4th generation of the family, who joined the business alongside her father.

The ria de Merrien is unique in that its right bank is bordered by the Presqu'île de Merrien, which is classified as the property of the Conservatoire du Littoral. This ensures that biodiversity issues are better taken into account in human activities. It is also the smallest ria in France, which gives the oysters a salty taste very similar to that of oysters grown in the open sea.

La ria de Merrien est la plus préservée des rias de FInistère sud.

«It was my great-grandfather who started growing flat oysters in Merrien.»

– Marine Kermagoret 

At the time, oysters were grown "on the ground". Later, her grandfather realised the generosity of the river and developed raised production in bags. In 1970, their work was disrupted when the flat oyster was decimated by an epizootic. In response to this disaster, the Kermagoret family began farming the much hardier creuse oyster.

Culture des huîtres surélevée.

Today, Marine Kermagoret and her father raise their oysters in the traditional way, in bags and on the ground. The flat oysters are matured here, while the hollow oysters are raised from spat to market. For the latter, they are committed to producing natural oysters.

Marine Kermagoret, des Huitres de Merrien.

«These are oysters born at sea, caught on collectors during the reproduction period between June and September. Merrien oysters are the only natural oysters in South Finistère.»

– Marine Kermagoret

Other oysters, known as triploids, are artificially modified to make them sterile, and are produced in hatcheries. This means that they are not subject to the reproduction period, and so are not milky for part of the summer. These now account for 80% of the market.

Tasting advice from Marine Kermagoret

Start by emptying the first water. You then have 3 options:

  • Eat the oyster plain
  • Season with lemon juice
  • Season with shallot vinegar

Where can you find natural Merrien oysters?

The Kermagoret family work locally as much as possible and favour short circuits. You can find their oysters in restaurants and fishmongers around Quimperlé, as far east as Lorient and as far west as Concarneau.

You can also buy your oysters directly from Merrien, where the Kermagoret family will be delighted to welcome you and sell you their oysters by the pound.

Where and how to taste the natural Merrien oyster?

Restaurants in the Quimperlé area

A starter for your festive menu from Claude Moysan, chef at the Quimper restaurant La Coulée Douce

Specially concocted for you, here's a special recipe for the festive season that everyone can make at home, using local products!

Cold starter : Oysters in apple jelly by Claude Moysan

  • Poached oyster from Huîtres Kermagoret
  • Apple juice jelly from the Clohars cider mill Des Bouteilles à l'Amère
  • Red radish and purslane leaves from Rédéné (organic market gardener Vincent Philippe)
  • Lemon pearls from Rosporden
  • Apple confit

L'huître en gelée de pomme de Claude Moysan, chef cusinier du restaurant quimperlois La Coulée Douce

The Chef's tip: immerse your poached oysters for just 20 seconds in hot water or apple juice for perfect cooking!

– Claude Moysan

The dish for your festive menu by Catherine Corlay, from the Clohars tea room and restaurant Le Cocooning

A recipe that's easy to reproduce, for a delicious moment to share with the whole family.

Hot dish: Catherine Corlay's Warm oyster with fish sauce, leek and parmesan fondue

  • Baked oyster from Huîtres Kermagoret
  • Fish sauce with mustard and white wine
  • Leek fondue
  • Cream of Parmesan cheese
  • Homemade seasoning with spices and herbs

Recette d'huître chaude à la fondue de poireau du Cocooning, à Clohars-Carnoët
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