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Knysna Oyster Festival Celebrating 30 years

June 29, 2013

The 2013 Knysna Oyster Festival is now in full swing! An annual 10 day event which coincides with the winter school holidays, the Knysna Oyster Festival is celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary this year and began yesterday 28 June 2013 and will continue through until 7 July. With more than 100 activities and events on the program (including lifestyle, sporting, foodie and kiddie events) there is sure to be loads of fun for everyone visiting Knysna “the pearl of the Garden Route” during the holidays!

Says Knysna Oyster Festival Manager Nicci Rousseau-Schmidt:

“On the menu at this year’s Knysna Oyster Festival is a smorgasbord of events to thrill and delight the most discerning of gourmands, wine aficionados and those who appreciate the finer things in life, such as the Admiral’s Ball with the SA Navy Dance Band – the perfect opportunity to display your own pearls and dance the night away. The Festival enjoys a wonderful relationship with the South African Navy, who are attending once again and, along with the Admiral’s Ball, the Navy Band performance is not only an event not to be missed, but the perfect grand finale to the Festival.

Showcasing over 40 top South African wine producers as well as bubbly from the Cap Classique Association, the Knysna Wine Festival & Night Food Market invites you to meet local winemakers, taste their current releases and learn more about the latest trends in wine making, and it only makes sense to pair this extremely popular event with the Night Food Market which is sure to offer tasty tidbits to enjoy – and line the stomach! The Pick n Pay Flavours of Knysna challenges restaurants in and around Knysna to compete in a variety of categories for recognition by judges and the public. The event allows them to showcase their talents in what promises to be an evening of culinary delights and gastronomic greatness. Various restaurants will also be identified as Oyster Hotspots. Here you will be able to sample oysters a la natural, as well as oysters cooked according to the restaurant’s own original recipes.

And of course we cannot forget about the oyster shucking and eating competitions. Regularly drawing record amounts of participants and spectators, these events are known for their fun factor. On 3 June 2012 Sonya Thomas, also known as ‘The Black Widow’ of competitive eating, ate 47 dozen – 564 in total – oysters in 8 minutes! This record was set in New Orleans, but I can’t help but wonder if we’ll find someone who can better that attempt at this year’s Festival…So train your taste buds and stock up on the milk thistle, this year promises to not only satisfy your taste buds, but to astound them.”

If you can’t get to the Knysna Oyster Festival and are having a bad case of FOMO why not try out Executive Chef at the glam Conrad Pezula Resort and Spa,  Geoffrey Murray’s recipe?

courtesy of Chef Geoffrey Murray, Cafe Z, Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa (one of the Tabasco hotspots during the festival) 


375ml freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
125ml 1/1 simple sugar stock syrup (1 Cup (250ml) Water to 1 Cup (250ml) Sugar boiled together)

*place a shallow dish in the freezer
*combine the grapefruit juice & the stock syrup in a bowl.
*pour the mixture into the chilled shallow dish in the frezzer
* every 20 – 30 minutes rake a fork through the mixture to break it up forming flaky ice crystals. continue doing this every 20 – 30 minutes until it the liquid all becomes flaky frozen crystals.
*cover & leave until needed, remembering to rake the fork through the mixture just before using to break it up again.

24 shucked & loosened medium oysters
+/- 1 table spoon of ground sumac
a peppermill filled with white peppercorns
crushed ice

*fill a large shallow platter or bowl with the crushed ice.
*arrange the opened oysters on the ice.
*place a small pinch of sumac on each oyster.
*then cover each oyster with a spoonful of the granita.
*give each oyster one turn of freshly ground white pepper
& serve immediately with an ice cold flute of bubbly.

According to Chef Geoffrey this recipe was inspired by the incredible pink colour that the sky, sand and sea sometimes go here in knysna; it can really look other worldly. the look of the dish can seem calm and unassuming but the flavours go wild on the palate just like the sea.
enjoy the taste sensation; the oyster is the salt, the sumac brings the sour, the granita the sweet and finally the white pepper a bit of aromatic spice!

Join a live Twitter Tasting on the 5th of July with the Chef and some visiting food bloggers.  Follow @ConradPezula and @oysterfestival  to participate! Should be fun!

Tips for enjoying oysters:
1. have your fish monger open the oysters for you. unless you have all of the proper tools for opening oysters and the know how this is the best option for enjoying your oysters.
2. keep the oysters chilled and if the fish monger has opened them for you be sure to enjoy them as soon as possible.
3. be sure that the meat of the oyster has been loosened away from the muscle attaching to the shell.
4. for the purist it’s best to enjoy oysters naked, meaning with nothing on the oyster to take away from its natural flavours, and if you prefer to be naked as well, be sure you’re in a comfortable environment.
5. one should slurp the oyster right out of the shell, getting all of the sweet salty oysters liquor, and then wash it down with a delicious glass of bubbly.


browniegirl xx

All photos courtesy of fineplaces marketing and PR.


To enjoy the recipe above and others especially developed for the Knysna Oyster Festival contact

Café Z, Conrad Pezula Resort & Spa 

044 302 3333/ 302 3399 or

Please visit for regular updates to the programme, or contact Knysna Tourism on 044 382 5510 for more information.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 7, 2013 12:09 AM

    Love love love oysters, always brings back fond memories of a small beach in East London and lots of family time. Earlier this year I had a girls weekend away and escaped to Whitstable – small English coastal town known for their oysters. They served them with the usual lemon and Tabasco, but this time, an added flavour of finely chopped pickled onion in vinegar and I have to say – not too bad! I still prefer the lemon and Tabasco but if you want something different, definitely try it


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