Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Chocolate and Oyster Day

During Friday evening and Saturday morning, I met with Maggi at the bakery and we worked on photographing a lot of her products for the new web site. It all took a lot of arranging and scouting of the bakery as well as our homes for props, even using foliage from the trees and meadows.
 Maggi brought out sheets of chocolate which we artfully broke up and placed in front of boxes, even setting up a couple of photos ready for Christmas customer blasts.
' Chocolate &' products' ready to be photographed and the molds for the horseshoe chocolates. The whole bakery smells of chocolate and the building is airtight with a constant temperature so the goodies are kept in peak condition. Windows and doors also have to remain tightly closed at all times as there have been a couple of break ins by the locals. The local black bears that is. They have smelled the chocolate from miles away, a tantalizing perfume drawing them to the bakery, and once managed to rip the screens from one of the windows before being chased away. So now, all those succulent sniffs have to be kept secured indoors, especially as the bears are seen a few times each year.
Maggi knew I was heading down to DC at noon for a friend's Oyster Fest and packed up a box full of chocolate, hoping that I might be able to snaffle a few fresh oysters for her as trade. I promised to see what I could do and set off down town.
I picked up Barb on route and some local beer and we couldn't believe our luck when we actually found a free parking spot right outside the marina. The marina is going through a dramatic change, buildings being knocked down, new ones going up and berths shunted down so the boats were feeling a little crowded. None of the residents were welcoming the new look marina. About 70 people have left already with others also considering a move soon. I really feel bad for them all as it used to be such a pleasant little community, a hidden treasure of DC, but soon restaurants and shops and bars will be towering down over the water, bringing more people and noise to the area.
But today was a party day, thanks to Tim, his 4th Annual Oyster Fest. with 1500 oysters harvested from his own Walnut Point Oyster Company in the Chesapeake Bay.
 Deborah and her friend, were superstars this afternoon, shucking the oysters for everyone. I for one was extremely grateful since I have no skill in this department, but Deborah is in a league of her own in this department, having been the USA Champion on more than one occasion, article here, and also here
 This wonderful lady brought the ingredients necessary to make Rockefeller Oysters, spinach soaked in garlic, parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs which were laid over the top of the oysters.. Eugene then cooked these to perfection on the grill and then placed them on a tray which was continuously emptied within a few seconds. I was honored, Eugene actually went down on one knee to present me with the tray as I sat in my chair so I could select what I considered the tastiest morsel. These were delectable and everyone had one eye on the grill during conversations, watching and waiting impatiently for the next freshly cooked batch. But we ate them in other ways, raw, steamed, with beer poured over, hot sauce, they were just delicious however they passed over the lips.
Tim's little woofer, Lola, begged for morsels but only got a small piece of cheese from me. Later on in the afternoon, she suddenly leaped on to my lap, seeking refuge from 2 kids whose attention she obviously didn't want. A friendly cuddle and an arm round her calmed her down and after a bit she had recovered enough to continue her scrounging in more successful corners.
The kids loved playing with the oysters. Tim warned the parents of their sharp shells but they played on, undaunted. and luckily without sustaining any cuts.
The tools of the trade and some fine beers. The hours passed far too quickly, probably for me because I wasn't feeling cold. Previous events have been held in November and December where we all had to dress up in huge coats with gloves and scarves to keep out the blustery breezes that pummeled us from the water. But today was balmy and sunny, a beautiful day. Many oysters were consumed and most of Maggi's chocolate disappeared too. Tim very kindly let me take a few oysters home for Maggi, which I packed in ice before leaving. Next year, I really have to make the effort to visit Tim and see his oyster farm firsthand, it will be a must once Christmas is over.
It was nearly dark when I drove up the steep hill to home, pulling into Maggi's driveway first to deliver her treat. Her front door was open before I'd climbed the few steps and she greeted me with a huge smile. My offers of help with shucking the oysters were waved off and she almost snatched them from me. I fancied I saw a glimmer of drool at the corner of her lips as she hurriedly shut the door but I'm sure it was the light. I laughed as I left her to her treat and drove home to the other side of the hill.

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