Festival of Oysters this Weekend in Mali Ston

Lauren Simmonds

Love them or hate them, the significance of this festival is not to be missed.

On Saturday 19 March 2016 the little town of Mali Ston (located quite close to Dubrovnik in southern Croatia) will be hosting the famous annual “Festival of Oysters” on the town’s waterfront to celebrate the holiday of Saint Joseph. Mali Ston is renowned for its oyster production and produce from this area has been mentioned by numerous big names in the food world.

The town of Mali Ston has a very, very long history of mariculture, with the first known written documents about the practice dating way back to the time of the Dubrovnik (Ragusa) Republic. Numerous records from the 17th Century provide details on the production, collection and the sale of oysters, and documents from the 18th Century describe the procedures one must go through to be granted an oyster rearing concession(s). 

The Gold Medal for oysters from Mali Ston Bay was awarded to a Dubrovnik-based company, “Bistrina-cultivation and sale of oysters and other shellfish” at the General Trades International Exhibition in London back in 1936. Most of the private companies disappeared during Second World War. The first public company for the shellfish rearing, however, was established in Bistrina Bay in 1946. At the end of 1980s, shellfish production reached levels of 2,000 to 3,000 tons of mussels, and a huge 1.5 million pieces of oysters per year.

One well known (and perhaps the only ”well known”) fact about oysters is that for many, they are an aphrodisiac, often eaten during romantic dinners and served in high-end restaurants. The other well-known fact is that oysters are to most of the world what marmite is to the British; something you only need to taste once, and you’ll immediately know whether your relationship is one of love or hate, there is rarely a third option.

The festival with include sampling the Mali Ston oysters, as well as mussels and other shellfish procured from the local waters, together with high-quality wine from the equally famous Peljesac region. There will be a music and entertainment programme, including folklore performances and a presentation of Croatian island products.

The tasting of oysters and Peljesac wines will begin on the seafront of Mali Ston on 19 March 2016 at 11 am.

If you’re around, pay it a visit!


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