An Historic Oyster Tasting

For many years, Texas oysters have been sold as a commodity product–all of them dumped into the same shucker’s pile as it were.

Meanwhile, oysters from the Pacific Northwest, Cape Cod and Canada (as well as England and France) are marketed by place names. Northern oyster bars like Grand Central Oyster Bar offer consumers as many as 32 oysters to choose from.

So why aren’t Texas oysters sold by place names? Well it turns out they were…in the late 1800s. In a few weeks, at the Foodways Texas symposium on Saturday February 26, you will be able to taste Texas oysters from 6 of those famous old reefs side by side. This is probably the first time in a hundred years that Pepper Grove oysters, once the most famous in Galveston Bay, will be offered by their place name.

Jim Gossen and Robb Walsh compare oysters

The oyster event is only a part of two days of excellent programming at our “Gulf Coast Gathering,” the first annual symposium of Foodways Texas. Four meals, a shrimp boil at the Seaport Museum (where we will drink Saint Arnold’s Elissa aboard the tall ship Elissa), and several impressive speakers are also in the line-up.

Check out the complete schedule and buy your tickets today at

Jon Rowley

Some of the most famous names in the oyster business will be on hand for the historic event. Marine biologist Dr. Sammy Ray; former Gourmet Contributing editor and international oyster expert, Jon Rowley; Louisiana Foods oyster maven Jim Gossen; and some of the top oystermen in Texas will be sitting on the panel–and eating oysters at Gaido’s afterward. There’s also an extensive fish dinner planned.

If you are coming in from out of town, check the hotel blocks, but do it today because our hold on these rooms is about to expire. If you want to stay in Houston, or you are going to the rodeo barbecue cook-off on Friday night February 25, you might want to buy the one day symposium pass and a ticket on the Bloody Mary Express, a bus that will take you down at 8 am Saturday morning and bring you back after the dinner at Gaido’s at 10 pm.

However you do it, please be there for this historic event!

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