While vacationing in the Languedoc, in southern France, in November 2014, I found myself again and again eating the delicious local oysters. In Carcassonne in the great gourmand épicerie, La Ferme, I purchased one of these knives because it was not only “the best” that they had, but the one that felt right in my hand. (You can read about my vacation here.)
The knife is made from nickel-free surgical steel. It has no guard, so for those of you who prefer a knife with a guard, this is probably not the knife for you. But for me it has been a revelation. I grew up gathering oysters from the banks of the South Carolina Lowcountry tidal marshes. I have opened thousands upon thousands of oysters and never have I used a better tool. I have used it not only with French oysters, but with Gulf Coast, Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound, and our wild local clusters here in Savannah and Charleston. The knife makes ease of tiny coin-sized oysters as well as the long banana-shaped ones.
This remarkable bivalve blade was designed by Chef Marcel Schouwenaar, the “Dutch Champion,” the 3-time winner of the Oyster Competition that pits 120 professional chefs against each other as they open 25 flat oysters and 25 wild oysters. Schouwenaar holds the record at 6 minutes and 22 seconds. In the event, each oyster must be totally severed from its shell, uninjured, and the oyster “liquor” must not be lost.
Each knife comes with its custom metal box. $70 includes postage to any address in the United States. They are now available at HoppinJohns.com. I will ship them from Savannah, Georgia, via Priority Mail. Wholesale accounts are welcome.