The Stranraer Oyster Festival is returning for 2019 this weekend, promising three days of coastal cookery, oyster-challenges, foodie experiences and family fun. 

The event, which is now in its third year, is centred around Scotland’s last remaining wild, native oyster fishery, which lies in Loch Ryan, just a stone’s throw from the festival site.

Stranraer Oyster Festival 2019

An oyster eating championship will be open to the public. Picture: SOF2019

Headlining the chef demonstration line up is Scotland’s spice king Tony Singh, who will be serving up a series of tempting dishes incorporating oysters, as part of an inspirational food festival programme of cookery and cocktail making demos. More than a dozen of Scotland’s top seafood chefs will be taking part in the #ShuckOff competing to be named Scottish Oyster Shucking Champion, before representing Scotland at the World Championships in Galway, Ireland a fortnight later.

The challenges don’t stop with the professional chefs – members of the public will be able to sign up to take part in the Scottish Oyster Eating Challenge, and those new to oysters can enjoy a more gentle introduction to oysters in an event led by Loch Ryan’s oyster expert Tristan Hugh-Jones.

Stranraer Oyster Festival 2019

Attendees can enjoy cookery demonstrations. Picture: SOF2019

Young people are invited to test themselves too, with a series of challenges including Stand Up Paddle Boarding out on Loch Ryan and the harbourside Extreme Pond Dipping to discover the many sea creatures found at the bottom of Loch Ryan – it’s not just oysters down there!

Romano Petrucci, Chair of Stranraer Development Trust, the community organisation that runs the festival, said: “This year we are going all-out to deliver an action packed festival that entertains, inspires, satisfies and challenges our visitors. Loch Ryan’s unique native oysters are of course at the heart of our festival, but this three day event is about the people and the place too.

“There is simply no finer way to enjoy our oysters, and our town’s hospitality, than this three day party, right next to Stranraer Harbour looking out at beautiful Loch Ryan as the sun sets across the water with Ailsa Craig on the horizon.

“This year’s programme is all about the experience of place, produce and people. We have extended the festival evening opening times, added a full schedule on the Friday evening and we are creating more opportunities than ever for visitors to get hands on, unique experiences.

“Stranraer Oyster Festival is an ideal way to prepare for Scotland’s Year of Coast and Water 2020, and it’s the perfect way to enjoy some of Scotland’s finest produce, to be inspired, to enjoy live music and stunning scenery and to make memories that will last a lifetime.”

Stranraer Oyster Festival takes place this weekend on 13-15th September 2019 and tickets are already selling fast.

The exclusive An Evening with Tony Singh event has already sold out, and only a few tickets remain for the Big Oyster Bash. People wanting to attend Tony Singh’s cookery demos are advised to book early.

• The full programme can be downloaded from www.stranraeroysterfestival.com 

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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