The French Kiss oysters (Crassostrea virginica) are farm-raised by the fine folks from Neguac, New Brunswick (on Canada’s Acadian peninsula) that also produces our wildly popular Beau Soleil oysters.
If anyone ever has anything negative to say about the Beau Soleils, it is that they are too small (Beau Soleils are cocktail oysters, and as such, come in at roughly two-and-a-half inches in diameter.) for certain applications. I appreciate that. The Beau Soleils will perfectly complement any brasserie or oyster bar’s list of offerings…But they might be perceived as being a bit too diminutive in a setting such as an over the top steak house, and run the risk of getting lost on a plate with “The Old 96er”. Enter the French Kiss!
French Kiss oysters are essentially pumped up (Hear me now and believe me later!) Beau Soleils. Essentially, the French Kiss oysters spend a couple more years than the Beau Soleils under the watchful eyes of our good friends at Maison Beau Soleil, and are allowed to attain a greater size before harvest.
Grow-out of the French Kiss oysters takes place in positively buoyed ADPI (hard-plastic-mesh) bags which are located within the (relatively well) protected northern tidal reaches of Miramichi Bay. The constant ebb and flow of the tides causes the oysters to roll and tumble within the ADPI bags, and the gentle abrasion serves as a passive, natural, method of manicuring. The resulting oysters are incredibly consistent in both size and shape.
Periodically, the ADPI bags are literally flipped over, and the French Kisses are left high and dry, exposed to the air and the Sun’s rays. This practice conditions the oyster’s adductor muscles, and when they are harvested, the adductors are in prime shape, and keeping the valves tightly shut (thereby retaining liquor) isn’t such a daunting task. Additionally…This exposure to the elements keeps the French Kisses free of any bio-fouling, and the oysters are exceptionally clean both inside and out.
French Kisses are deeply cupped, and are that perfect paisley shape all oyster growers strive for. As with the Beau Soleils, meat yields on the French Kisses is nothing less than extraordinary, and the meats themselves lead with a profound salinity, which yields to a mildly sweet finish. The meats are full, and posses a certain degree of body which is complemented by the briny liquor. Both the Beau Soleils and French Kisses are available year-round. Before the winter sea-ice sets in, the ADPI bags are sunk, and harvest occurs through the ice all winter long.
If you have a client who is asking you for an oyster that will be consistently available for the next few months, you should point them in the direction of the Beau Soleils and French Kisses with every bit of confidence. French Kiss oysters are hand-packed (cup side down) in 60 counts in unique, round wooden boxes, and will be available on a daily basis from this Sunday on. Nuts and bolts…If you love the Beau Soleils…But you just want more of a good thing, the French Kiss oysters are for you.