“Oyster Education” at NICO; a history behind the Southern delicacy

Charleston County News

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD)- Oyster Season is in full swing in the Lowcountry. The beloved Southern Delicacy has become a tradition; and at NICO in Mount Pleasant, oysters are the crown jewels of their menu.

The oyster bar started after French Master Chef Nico Romo took a road trip up the East Coast. In his wife’s mini-van, Romo and his friend traveled to find the best oysters from Maine to South Carolina.

“Something I hear a lot is, ‘well the French, they don’t have oyster bars,’ and I say ‘yes they do.’ Oysters are a big part of French Cuisine,” he says.

It was on that trip that Romo curated an extensive list of oysters and learned everything about them. He put together “The Nico Oyster Hunt,” a guide book to the oyster’s origins, species, taste, and everything in between.

“That’s how the oyster class came about,” says Romo. “Once we had the book, we wanted to share what we learned.”

He started teaching small classes at the restaurant on Monday nights. Guests learn a crash course in the history of the oyster, how they’re grown, factors that play into their taste, and the proper way to shuck.

Master Shucker Bella helps demonstrate the art of shucking. She has won numerous national and state awards in oyster shucking.

The class takes turns practicing shucking and tasting the 12 different oysters from the list. The oysters are paired with Oysterman melon de Bourgogne; a white wine that goes perfectly with shellfish.

Romo believes the best way to eat the oysters is with nothing at all.

“You really get to try the oysters and understand the region of all of them. I always tell them, if you go to California to a winery and have a man teaching you all about wine and you throw a big ice cube in it, it’s like that,” he explains.

For more information on the NICO Oyster Hunt and classes, click here.

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