Oyster FestivalI’ve just added a new festival to my list. This one involves oysters (10,000 of ’em – hootenanny!) and champagne (the real deal, as well as our own sparkling wine) and a day out of town.

I don’t think it gets better than that.

Okay, so everyone’s heard of the Knysna Oyster Festival, right? I’ve always wanted to go to something like it, if only it wasn’t so damned far away.

Some of the best oysters I’ve ever had were at the Knysna Oyster Company, and I don’t doubt that the festival itself is fantastic, but so far I haven’t felt the urge to drive all the way to Knysna (pretty though the route may be, and is), fight the crowds for accommodation and for space at the festival, and then have to drive all the way back. No sir.

So, I am rather excited (to the point of drooling – I freely and unembarrassedly admit) about the Bloemendal Oyster & Champagne Festival, coming up this weekend (7&8 April) at the Bloemendal Wine Estate, on the Durbanville Wine Valley Route.

The events main attraction will be the oyster cook-off competition presented by 15 various restaurants from the Durbanville and surrounding areas that will show off their skills at preparing dishes with oysters.

Each restaurant participating in the event will receive 400 oysters, for both days, to prepare into mouth-watering dishes. An extra 2 000 oysters will be available to those who prefer them raw, making 10 000 oysters available for the event.

And here’s my favourite part:

An oyster “shuck and slurp” completion will also form part of the event. Participants to this event will comprise of any one who can open “shuck” and slurp as many oysters in a given time.

Presuming they mean ‘competition’ (not ‘completion’) – I think this could make some entertaining watching (especially once the bubbly has kicked in). Don’t think I’ll enter the ‘completion’, though – my shucking and slurping skills are, I fear, rather rusty.

Saturday looks to be a balmy 30 degrees, and as I’m not running the Two Oceans that’s when I’ll be heading to Bloemendal for my piece of the oyster action.

The Oyster and Champagne festival is a two-day event to be hosted annually at the Bloemendal Wine Estate, on the Durbanville Wine Valley Route. Dates & times: Saturday, 7 April 2007. 11h00 to 17h00; Sunday, 8 April 2007. 09h00 to 17h00. Tickets cost R50 for adults, R25 for children. A limit of 700 tickets per day will be made available.

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