Lindisfarne oysters providing a taste of romance at Northumberland pub this Valentine’s Day

Oysters grown on beds established nearly 650 years ago by pious monks on Holy Island will take centre stage on Valentine’s Day at a Northumberland pub.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 3:11 pm
Lindisfarne Oysters will be on the Valentine's Day menu at the nearby Lindisfarne Inn, as cooked by head chef Richard Smith

The Lindisfarne Inn at Beal is embracing the local delicacy on its Valentine’s Day dinner menu as it helps loved-up couples celebrate the most romantic day of the year.

The high-quality Pacific oysters grown in what is now the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve will be available to eat individually on their own or with a dash of red hot tabasco, poached and served with either caviar and classic beurre blanc or apple granita and seaweed, or deep-fried with a Thai dipping sauce.

Lindisfarne Inn head chef, Richard Smith, said: “Lindisfarne’s monks would have eaten the oysters as a substitute for meat and animal products on fast days and during Lent and Advent when only fish or seafood was allowed.

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“They would probably have been simply prepared in something like a stew and would have been eaten for their nutritional value, and most definitely not to spice up their love life!

“Nowadays, however, oysters are seen not as an essential food alternative but as an aphrodisiac by lovers perhaps hoping to imitate the seductive prowess of the legendary Casanova, who is said to have eaten 50 each morning for breakfast.

“I’m not sure what the celibate monks of Lindisfarne would make of oysters grown in the beds they created just a stone’s throw from the inn being served as the centrepiece of what is essentially a Pagan fertility festival, but it would be nice to think that one or two of them would be wryly amused.”

The luxurious delicacy, grown by Lindisfarne Oysters, are highly esteemed by top chefs and connoisseurs alike.

The family-run enterprise was set up in 1989 by farmer John Sutherland after he noticed oyster shells littering the beach at low tide. The business is now run by Christopher Sutherland and his wife Helen.

Richard says: “They are the very best organic oysters, and we are proud to be championing a top-quality product grown on our doorstep.”