Monday Masterclass in St James’s
CMW editor, Paul Colston, explores Wilton's Oyster Masterclass.
Wiltons, one of London’s oldest and most prestigious restaurants – which traces its roots as a shellfish mongers back to 1742 in Haymarket - has marked the start of the 2021 oyster season with a limited number of Oyster Masterclasses in partnership with English Sparkling Wine makers, Nyetimber.
Each Monday evening beginning on 13 September, oyster master Tommaso Sicurro has hosted a two-hour masterclass, giving both novices and aficionados a chance to find out more about the consumption and myths surrounding these special molluscs.
The Masterclass this editor joined recently was both fun and informative as our group tried, first natural oysters, including Jersey Rock, Poole Rock, West Mersea Bock, Maldon Rock, Falmouth Native and Cork Native, all paired with glasses of sommelier selected Nyetimber wines.
The natural oysters offered, at least for this taster, a surprisingly broad range of experiences for the pallet, with some buttery and creamy, others briny and bracing, and others with a hint of fruit in their taste, as well as those more meaty in texture.
The second round gave us cooked and dressed oysters to try, a whole different experience. They came with various sauces and salads, including the Mignonette, the Rockfeller and Christian Dior - named after the fashion designer who so loved his oysters.
Wiltons received a Royal Warrant in 1836 for supplying oysters to Queen Victoria and the masterclasses are set to run until April 2022 and can be incorporated into celebrations and incentives. For those holding events in the UK and wanting to bring the Wiltons Oyster Barrow to them, then the spectacle of shucking and tasting can provide a great alternative to canapés, bowl food and small plates. And the result of the tasting? Well, the Christian Dior seemed to tick everyone’s box, with its touch of truffle, cream and sherry, although my personal preference was for the briny tang of the Jersey Rock which conjured up the freshness of the ocean.
Wiltons Oyster Masterclasses and a small boardroom for exclusive meetings can be booked via www.sevenrooms.com/events/wiltons