Great article in The Guardian (of all places) today regarding the science behind the popularity (amongst some) of drinking champagne with oysters. Apart from being very much associated with high living and fine dining, the combination also conjures up images of slightly louche dinner parties attended by the wealthy and dissolute (or is that just me?) so I guess the combination already has something of an image in popular imagination.
Apparently serving them together creates “umami” - a word that apparently derives from the Japanese for ‘pleasant savoury taste’. I have always been partial to an oyster - I once read that eating an oyster is like taking a deep breath of sea air when standing on an Atlantic seashore during a storm, and this has a certain resonance for me although I am aware that this is not universally shared - whilst my Mother was a fan, my Father cannot stand them.
I am also a big fan of champagne (a love shared with both my parents) and it seems that the “yeast cells in champagne supply the glutamate and the muscles in the oysters add a seasoning of tasty nucleotides” which triggers the umami.
In the interests of research I am therefore inspired to put this Scientific thesis to the test. Dubai is not exactly renowned for its oysters but I have seen them on sale at my local Spinneys and Champagne is also readily available (albeit at eye watering prices) so I shall report back on my findings.