Time to discover the Grebbestad Oyster that confidently takes its place among the best in the World. When the Nordic Oyster Opening Championships were held for the tenth time, this uncooked delicacy helped turn the harbour area at the centre of Grebbestad fishing village into a great celebration.
The sea glittered in the spring sun and the tents literally hummed with excitement when the gold medal went to the Swede Johan Malm. In cut-throat competition, oysters of the very highest quality were opened by 16 contestants from all over Scandinavia.
The Oyster Academy, led by Per Karlsson, was involved when the competition was launched a number of years ago. Then as now, the aim was to promote the local oyster variety – ostrea edulis. Per, who also works with oyster tastings, smiles happily as he surveys the sea of people in front of us.
– When we decided to organise this competition together with the West Sweden Tourism Board, the idea was to promote the natural product. To hold an event in the very place where the oysters grow.
At that time, on a sunny September day in 2004, when the Day of the Oyster was organised for the first time, it was impossible to even imagine the number of oysters they now go through.
– We opened about 160 oysters on the pier that time, and many people from Grebbestad tried oysters for the very first time on that occasion. I remember that we were ecstatic. What a success! Because we had only estimated using 100 oysters. Today I’m even happier about the fact that on this year’s Day of the Oyster we have opened 6,000 oysters, served with champagne and locally brewed porter. During the Nordic Oyster Opening Championship, our other big event in Grebbestad, we use at least the same number of oysters.
Everyone in Grebbestad is pleased to have access to such a wonderful range of seafood right on their doorstep. And of having a healthy, living local fishing industry that you can be proud of. Not least Per, who is particularly happy about the enthusiasm of local residents.
– This event has generated a brand new demand for Swedish oysters. Approximately 30-40% of the hand harvested oysters are now delivered to local restaurants, fishmongers in Grebbestad, and different events. Ten years ago, only just under 1% of the oysters were consumed here, the rest went to Stockholm or abroad.
But it is not only Swedish visitors who have discovered the gem that is Grebbestad. The village attracts seafood lovers and food enthusiasts from all over the world. Many visit the restaurant Everts Sjöbod, where Per Karlsson teaches them all there is to know about oysters.
– Last autumn we had a guest from Brazil. He had read an article about us in Lonely Planet, and had always wanted to enjoy oysters on the Swedish west coast. I love showing off our amazing local ingredients. I feel particularly proud of the pure, clean flavours that are not found anywhere else, finishes Per Karlsson.
Text: Maria Zihammou
Photo: Robert Dahlberg