We all like luxury in our lives – heck you wouldn’t be on this site if you didn’t and of those pinnacles of luxury along with an excellent cuban cigar or fine whisky is of course the oyster.
November saw the critically acclaimed great British restaurant Boisdale of Canary Wharf and Wright Brothers, play host to the Cloudy Bay British Oyster Championship & Lunch 2015, in partnership with Velocity, the world’s leading international digital hospitality service. This event gathered the very best in the restaurant industry for the world’s greatest ever, blind tasting of British Oysters to date…
Hosted by renowned bon viveur, writer and chef Bill Knott, the event accommodated the industry’s most talented chefs (with over 10 Michelin stars between them), top sommeliers, influential food writers, and oyster enthusiasts all under one roof. Guests included, Richard Corrigan, Pierre Koffman, Peter Prescott, Rachel Khoo, and Daniel Kent of Wiltons, one of London’s oldest and most established oyster serving destinations.
Robin Hancock of Wright Brothers, which supplies an impressive 5 tonnes of oysters per week to 170 restaurants in London, kicked off the awards ceremony with an expert assessment on the health of the UK oyster industry noting the dramatic recent growth in the production of Pacific (also known as Rock) in UK. Maria Ines Pina, Senior Brand Manager of Cloudy Bay in the UK presented the awards to the winning oyster producers as voted by judges, with the gold winners receiving a magnum of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014.
Shucking off at 11.30am, the tasting was divided into two categories: Rock and Natives. The day consisted of a blind tasting of a comprehensive selection of the best British oysters in production by an expert panel of judges. Guests, judges and award nominees alike enjoyed a spectacular four-course lunch prepared by Boisdale Executive Head Chef Andy Rose, and paired with delicious wines from the Cloudy Bay vineyards.
And the Cloudy Bay British Oyster Championship Winners are…
- Gold – Carlingford Oysters, Ireland
- Silver – Galway Oysters, Ireland
- Bronze – Porthilly Oysters, Cornwall, UK
- Gold – Loch Ryan Native Oysters, Ireland
Two further awards were given to those who have made a particular mark in the oyster community through their highly visible and unbridled passion for the bivalve mollusc. Velocity Director of Sales in the UK and Europe Harmeet Rehal presented the Cloudy Bay Oyster Champion 2015 to world- renowned chef, Richard Corrigan for raising the profile of oysters through his work on television and through his restaurant Bentley’s.
(Richard’s in the middle!)
Seventh generation oysterman Richard Haward of West Mersea Oysters was presented the highly coveted Lifetime Oyster Achievement Award 2015, for the dedication his family has shown since 1798. Both winners received Magnum of 2014 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2012.
For those that where wondering Cloudy Bay winery was established in 1985 by David Hohnen, the founder of Margaret River Winery Cape Mentelle. Named after the bay on the eastern extremity of Marlborough, Cloudy Bay helped put New Zealand on the global wine map, with their fresh approach to winemaking earning them international prestige. Their continued commitment to quality, above all else, retains Cloudy Bay as a respected premium wine producer.
The Marlborough region enjoys a relatively cool and moderate maritime climate all year round, producing one of the world’s most refined and expressive Sauvignon Blanc wines. Pinot Noir is now also earning international acclaim. The Cloudy Bay range includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, the brand’s iconic Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc and Te Wahi Pinot Noir and Pelorus, an exceptionally elegant sparkling wine. Small amounts of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Late Harvest are also produced.
One last thing… don’t forget Boisdale retail some of the world’s best hand-rolled Cuban and vintage cigars, each restaurant features a bespoke Humidor, with Boisdale Belgravia and Canary Wharf also offering a discreet cigar terrace.