Blackman Bay Oysters are among our favourite oysters in Tasmania and possibly Australia.
Blackman Bay is an enclosed bay just south of Marion Bay in Tasmania’s south-east. You can reach it by driving to Copping and then taking the C337 toward Bream Creek then to Marion Bay where you can turn right and head down towards Boomer Island with its strange “castle” featuring prominently. The large body of water you are driving past is Blackman Bay.
Blackman Bay Oysters
The first thing to point out is that these oysters are quite small. This is because they are managed quite differently to the practices employed by most other farms. In Blackman Bay there are sub-tidal zones and inter-tidal zones. The sub-tidal zones are the areas where the oysters can be always under water regardless of the tides. The inter-tidal zones are the areas where the oysters can be exposed at low tide and covered at high tide.
The unique approach here is that they begin their life in the sub-tidal zone where they busily build their shells. When they are approaching being ready they are moved to an area of the inter-tidal zone where they are put on racks which are above the water for about 16 hours a day.
Evidently the theory is that when they are exposed to the open air, they concentrate less on building up their shells and, instead, concentrate on building the size and quality of the oyster “meat”.
And there is no doubt that they are onto something – the oysters are delicious! They are also quite easy to shuck.
When they first arrive we eat them simply shucked with maybe some lemon juice or a simple mignonette sauce.
After a couple of days we prefer to shuck them and then steam them topped with finely chopped ginger and celery with some of the light, naturally fermented soy sauce from amazing Japanese producer Inoue Honten as well as a little mirin for which we use Isshi Soden both of which are imported to Australia by our friends at Black Market Sake.
Before the shutdown they were a permanent feature at Tasmania’s top restaurant, Franklin as well as other venues such as the Glasshouse, Peppermint Bay and in Melbourne one of our favourite venues Supernormal.