Sexy Food: Bivalve Madness

Hama Hama Oysters and Taylor Shellfish make one hot duo for a pairing extravaganza.

Seattle is a hotbed of oyster activity. I could probably pen a weekly column dedicated to the beautiful bivalves, but since they are amongst the sexiest of all sexy foods, for now news of them resides here. This week there is a lot to tell. I had the great fortune to attend an oyster and wine tasting that featured oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company as well as Taylor Shellfish.

Hama Hama is a family run farm established in 1922 on the shores of the Hood Canal. Taylor has a retail outpost and oyster bar in Seattle at the Melrose Market, but the oysters come from various nearby shores like Samish Bay and the famed Totten Inlet.

Lush, raw oysters are one of nature’s perfect foods, but crisp, cold wine enhances their ethereal qualities like a Louboutin does a leg. At the tasting I attended, we paired various oysters with wines from Barone Fini from Northern Italy, Girard from Napa, and The Crossings from the distant shores of New Zealand. Barone Fini makes a pinot grigio from Alto Adige that is wet-your-knickers transcendental. One sip will change your mind about the oft-maligned “ladies-who-lunch” grape variety. It boasts a rare quality of robustness often absent in white wine, and yet it is also crisp with clarity; a perfect pairing for Washington’s only native oyster, the Olympia, regarded by many to be the world’s greatest oyster.

If you’d like to taste the Olympia for yourself, head down to the Taylor Melrose store and order a dozen. Happy hour is Mon-Fri from 2-4 p.m. Better yet, host your very own oyster and wine tasting party by rustling up a good selection of Hama Hama’s and Taylor’s, and then ask your friends to each bring a clean-drinking white to taste alongside.

David Leck of Taylor Shellfish won the International Boston Seafood Show Shucking Competition in March 2012.

But wait, there’s more! In case you’re not convinced that Seattle is the destination for oysters in North America, our very own David Leck just took home top honors at the International Boston Seafood Show on March 12th by besting two dozen other contenders including last year’s winner and this year’s runner up, Jorge Hernandez, who is also from Seattle. Congratulate David in person at the Taylor Melrose store, where you can find him most days getting all shucked up behind the bar.

And finally, the notorious 18th annual Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition is underway. Sponsored by Taylor Shellfish and spearheaded by oyster legend Jon Rowley, the “dating service for oysters and wine” seeks to identify the ten best West Coast wines to go with oysters. California, Oregon and Washington wineries are invited to submit their top, clean-finishing white contenders. For more information on how to participate, visit or contact: Jon Rowley (206) 963-5959,