Oysters, best known
for their reputed aphrodisiac powers, have been a favourite of food
lovers throughout the centuries, beginning with the Roman Emperors
who paid for them by their weight in gold...
The Pick 'n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, one of South Africa's most
popular and enduring festivals, starts on the 1st Friday of
every July. The festival is a 10-day feast for oyster lovers and
a sport and leisure adventure for the whole family. The programme
is packed with sporting events which include cycling, running, canoeing,
down-hill racing and sailing.
There is also plenty of entertainment for the not-so-active and many
occasions to toast Knysna's famous local mollusc!
Highlights include the Pick 'n Pay Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour - a two
day festival of cycling - and the Pick 'n Pay Knysna Forest Marathon
- one of the most popular and challenging events on the running calendar.
Knysna itself is a bustling holiday town, with fabulous views over
the blue lagoon and beyond to the Indian Ocean, as well as a fantastic
cliff-top walk. There are also hikes, trails, a marathon, mountain-bike
cycling tours, diving and flea markets to be enjoyed. During the
festival there are numerous competitions to enter or watch including,
of course, both the cooking and eating of the oysters.
Did You Know:
Oysters? The word alone inspires a gamut of responses. Historians
favour the Ancient Romans and the Greeks as the first to discover and
The oyster is a mollusc (shellfish) and is of the class Bivalvia (with two shells
An oyster is in the most advantageous position of being able to change its sex
- the older oysters become the greater the percentage of females.
Greeks began to cultivate oysters as early as the fourth century BC. The fisherman
would toss broken pottery dishes onto natural oyster beds where young, fledgling
oysters looking for a suitable nesting spot would settle. Unbeknown to them they
were not only laying down the foundations for the recycling industry, but cultivating
the delectable mollusc as well.
And the French?
Oysters were used as projectiles by the Huguenots after their ammunition ran
out at the siege of La Rochelle (16 Century).
Do as the Romans do?
Oysters were in great demand at luxurious tables of Rome, where no orgy was complete
without them. The Roman Emperor Vitellius was said to have eaten a thousand oysters
at a single sitting.