Stranraer festival to celebrate Scotland’s native oysters starts today

Scotland’s first major food festival celebrating the country’s renowned native oyster gets underway today.

Photograph by: Martin ToonLoch Ryan Oysters

The three-day Stranraer Oyster Festival takes place during Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight and aims to honour the seafood heritage of Stranraer, including what is believed to be Scotland’s last remaining wild, native oyster fishery – in Loch Ryan.

The festival marks the start of the oyster harvesting season, which runs from September to April, and aims to showcase the stunning beauty of Loch Ryan, the unique seafood that resides within the Loch and the warmth of the people of Stranraer.

A packed weekend of activities are lined up, including the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championship in partnership with Seafood Scotland – the winner of which will go on to represent Scotland in the World Championships in Ireland later this month.

Other highlights include chef demonstrations, including Oyster Pakora being created by Hardeep Singh Kohli, seafood and cocktail combos and a wild food cook-up.

Fifty local businesses will be selling artisan food, drink, arts and crafts in a festival market, and there’s a family-friendly line up of events including extreme pond dipping, kite making and even a couple of celebrity guest appearances.

Oyster experts, Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery, will be on hand throughout providing tastings, demonstrations and information about the native oysters, and for those not brave enough to sample the seafood delicacies, there will even be ‘oyster’ ice creams to enjoy!

The native oyster was once widespread around Scotland and much of the UK but has been harvested to near extinction. The Stranraer Oyster Festival provides the first opportunity for members of the public to try these unique oysters on the banks of the sea loch from which they are carefully harvested.

Romano Petrucci, chair of Stranraer Development Trust, the organisation behind the festival, said: “Like many oyster festivals around the world we have taken the oyster as a focal point and created a celebration of local food, local culture and the local community around it.  We can’t wait to welcome visitors to our beautiful town, the excitement is building and we are looking forward to a weekend that’s filled with fun and flavour.”

Stranraer Oyster Festival takes place from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th September 2017 inclusive.

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