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Fresh oysters will be shucked in their thousands at the Oyster Festival, where there will also be wine, beer and food for all gourmet tastes.
SAVOURING things fresh and fishy is not a pastime usually associated with the inland metropolis of Johannesburg, so it may come as some surprise that the city hosts the second largest oyster festival in South Africa.

Oyster, Wine & Food FestivalThe Oyster, Wine & Food Festival is swimming into its eighth year at Brightwater Commons in Randburg, and will run on 2 and 3 June. Visitors can expect only the best and freshest that the ocean has hidden in its depths, with about 40 000 freshly shucked oysters expected to be dished up over the course of the two-day festival.

“The Oyster Festival is the largest of its kind in Gauteng, and is second only to the Knysna Oyster Festival,” says the Commons’ marketing manager, Francois du Buisson. “However, the Joburg event is unique in that a huge number of oysters are sold in only one venue over just 14 hours in two days.”

Organisers of the event are hoping that they can top last year’s record of 30 000 oysters sold and 6 000 visitors. Should the festival reach its target of selling 40 000 oysters, it will work out at 3 076 oysters being sold each hour over the two days.

There will even be something for those not particularly enamoured of seafood. In addition to the world’s most slippery aphrodisiac, there will be 28 gourmet food exhibitors and wines coming from 32 of the country’s best wine estates.

A gourmet food tent featuring local suppliers of chocolate, nougat, desserts, olive tapenades, cheese and breads, will be erected alongside a beer tent with the finest malts, and a wine tasting lounge offering cheese and champagne to accompany the oysters.

To accommodate the bigger selection of gastronomic delights, the gourmet food tent has grown from previous years, while the wine tasting lounge run by the wine-tasting club, Vats, will also offer grappa and organic brandies.

“Pairing hand-picked artisanal food and oysters with an array of wines that are compatible is a joy, and that’s what we are bringing to the festival,” says the festival’s facilitator of food and wine, Judith Lee.

It will run from 11am to 6pm on 2 and 3 June and is sponsored by Brightwater Commons in association with Celo Creative Culinary Concepts and Full Volume Promotions. Entry to the festival is free, but a fee will be charged for the oysters, wine and gourmet food.

For more information, contact Brightwater Commons on 011 789 5052. The centre is located on Republic Road in Randburg.

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