We went to Île d’Aix, a small island, perched between famous Île de Ré in the North and Île d’Oléron on an oyster fisher boat. The guy was a friend of Sophie’s and renting the oyster farm that Sophie’s family once built.
The small, flat boat fought the waves for more than half an hour and finally delivered us in perfect sunshine to Île d’Aix.
We had brought bikes and spend the rest of the morning exploring the old garrison, the two lighthouses and following the beach until we made it to Anse du Saillant, the bay the island is trying to enclose.
It was still low tide. We took off our shoes and enjoyed a fabulous summer afternoon.
Finally, Sophie pointed to a group of rocks that looked like they were peeping out of the sand. Going closer I discovered that they were covered with shells.
“Oysters”, Sophie pointed out and pulled a small pocket knife from her backpack.
She knelt down next to one of the rocks and skillfully removed one of the oysters, opened it and handed it to me.
It was a little warmer than the other oyster I had previously tasted. But it was still a delicious wave of la mer that let glide into me.
Seeing that I was enjoying myself Sophie opened another oyster and another one. Finally, she explained to me how to do it: usually to the left side of where the two oyster shells connect, it is easier to open them, it is a weak spot. Then you have to loosen the muscle. Et voilà!
I took over the knife and was exhilarated when I succeeded on my second try.
Just like that, I feasted on a dozen super-fresh oysters, on a beach in the West of France.