The Terroir of the Sea

15 MAY 2024

Just as the terroir of a vineyard imparts distinct notes to a wine, the terroir of the sea impacts the flavour of one of France's most beloved foods: oysters.


The term merroir, taken from the French word mer, which translates to 'sea,' is a combination of the many factors that comprise the marine ecosystem in which oysters are grown — water temperature, algae presence, mineral content and more. As with any artisanal product, the expertise and techniques employed by oyster farmers, passed down through generations, play a crucial role in shaping the final product, ensuring that each oyster is a true reflection of its place of origin.


In France, the oyster-producing regions scattered along the country's coastlines each boast its own unique terroir. Culina at COMO Dempsey in Singapore — the city’s purveyor of fine food and produce since 1994 — has several varieties of French oysters air-flown fresh every week, which you can bring home or have served at Culina Bistro.

Savour the freshest of oysters air-flown fresh every week at Culina Bistro.

Get to know a few varieties that you can taste at Culina, whether from their fresh daily selections or on very special occasions:


Le Gall Special Oysters

  These oysters benefit from the protected site of Porz-ar-Loc'h in Plougastel-Daoulas, which lies in the Brest harbour. The fresh water from the river provides abundant food, while the lack of excessive competition and stress allows the oysters to develop more fully. The terroir imparts a strong earthy taste with just a hint of iodine, as well as a fleshy muscle similar to another famous delicacy from Brittany — the Coquilles St Jacques de la Rade de Brest.


Sentinelle Speciale Famille Boutrais Oysters


The spat of this oyster is selected in France and sent to be raised in the nutrient-rich waters of County Down, Northern Ireland. The combination of French and Irish expertise, results in an elegant oyster with a firm texture and unique gourmet flavour, which features notes of hazelnut and almond, as well as a long iodised finish, beloved by oyster connoisseurs everywhere.


Gillardeau Oysters


Considered the 'Dom Perignon' of oysters, Gillardeau oysters are raised in the icy waters of Normandy or cool coastal inlets of County Cork in Ireland. They are then finished in the Marennes-Oléron basins — clay ponds in former salt marsh areas, where every tide brings in seawater to mix with the ponds' freshwater. These oysters are carefully monitored for salinity and oxygen content. The result is a generous, tender flesh with notes of iodine and a subtle sweet taste, accompanied by a touch of hazelnut.

Pair oysters with a crisp, dry white wine with high acidity to complement the briny, mineral notes.

Pairing wine with your oysters is about striking a balance between the weight and intensity of the wine and the delicate flavours of the oyster. A classic pairing is a crisp, dry white wine with high acidity, such as a Chablis or Albariño, which can complement the briny, mineral notes of the oysters without overpowering them.


For those who prefer a more full-bodied white, a white Burgundy or a Sancerre can provide a richer, more complex pairing that still maintains the necessary acidity to cut through the oysters' flavours. Champagne is another popular choice, as the bubbles and acidity can help to cleanse the palate between each succulent morsel.


Discover the nuanced flavours of these French oysters at Culina Bistro at COMO Dempsey, where the knowledgeable staff can recommend the perfect wine pairings to complement each oyster's unique terroir.

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