Romantic Gestures That Make Oysters Less Cliche for Valentine's Day

I'm a romantic at heart, so I love to suggest oysters for Valentine's Day... even if it is the most cheesy, cliche thing imaginable.

Whenever anyone mentions the words, "oysters" and "aphrodisiac," or even hints at the oyster's amorous reputation, I can't help but do a mental eye roll. It's just kind of too obvious! Even still, I believe that oysters can be a wonderful, tasteful choice... if done the right way. Here are a few ideas...

Photography & food styling by Jenny Huang Calligraphy by Chavelli Tsui


Playing Dress Up

I've had a complicated relationship with garnishes. I've made rules for myself, only to break them. I would still consider myself as a purist, but sometimes, a punchy mignonette just really hits the spot.

There are many variations on classic accoutrements that can be explored. Instead of horseradish, try ginger. Instead of vinegar, try vodka. Instead of lemon, try yuzu. Instead of black pepper, try yellow curry. Instead of cocktail sauce, try pickle juice. Try out some unexpected ingredients... pomegranate, sake, bourbon, and chili powder.

I am definitely going to try out this Buddha's Hand Citron Mignonette and Citron Ginger Mule pairing by my friend Jenny.


A Taste of a Place

I love the fact that oysters are taste like where they're from, and having first-hand experience with an oyster's "meroir" is the key to making lasting memories.

If  you have the luxury of picking and choosing different varieties of oysters to eat, select ones that come from states that hold special meaning for you and your loved one. Write down some of your favorite travel memories on notecards and on the other side, write out the oyster's name, harvest location, and a few lines for tasting notes. Alternatively (and this will score you major points), surprise your significant other with a round of oysters from a state where you've planned a getaway to!


Down to Shuck

Learning how to open oysters is probably one of the most useful "social" skills that you can easily acquire. It's not terribly difficult to pick up, although it does take some time to master.

Teaching yourself and your beau how to shuck by bringing home a bag of oysters, a couple of shucking knives, and read up on my post about it. Petite such as Kusshi, Beausoleil, and most varietals from Rhode Island happen to be great beginner oysters to learn on.


Oyster Love Stories

In grade school, I used to hate reading out loud. I'm not even sure why our teachers made us do it so often in class. Now as I am older, I have a new sense of appreciation for spoken stories. (Yay for podcasts!) Spark that sense of intimacy and delight by reading out loud a passage from your favorite book, as you enjoy oysters... in bed, of course. If you want to stick to the theme, here are some of my favorite oyster-related reads:

Consider the Oyster by M.F.K. Fisher

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

A Geography of Oysters by Rowan Jacobsen


This might be the first time in the history of this blog where all of the photos are NOT my own. I am very proud to showcase the creative work of my two talented friends, Chavelli Tsui (I Draw Letters) and Jenny Huang (Hello My Dumpling) to compliment my own thoughts. Jenny and Chavelli decided to use Flapjack oysters from Eld Inlet, Puget Sound, Washington for this shoot.