Oyster treat in Languedoc

© T. Joly
The Tarbouriech family produces succulent pink oysters. On the shores of the Thau lagoon, the Saint Barth restaurant is a lovely place to taste them.

[ Practical ]

Le Saint Barth
Lieu-dit Montpenèdre, 34340 Marseillan
Information : 0499439758
If you fancy tasting some of France’s best oysters, then go near Sète, on the Mediterranean coast. About twenty kilometres further South, in the vicinity of the village of Marseillan, head to the shores of the Thau lagoon, a salty body of water nested between the sea and the mainland. There, after crossing vineyards, at the end of a small road you will find the Saint Barth, a restaurant with a simple, rustic and warm decor set up in a building where oysters were once prepared before expedition.

© T. Joly
 Panoramic view of the lagoon
It stands on a great spot, right on the edge of the lake and you can enjoy the view from the terrace or from a pontoon where small sitting areas have been set up to have a drink. But the main reason to pay a visit to the Saint Barth is to eat oysters considered among the best in the world. Those produced by its owners who are also oyster farmers, Florent Tarbouriech and his children.
Rich in plankton, free from pollution as shown by the many seahorses living in its waters, the Thau lagoon has always been suitable for the production of quality oysters. However, they used to be smaller than those of the Atlantic due to the absence of tides.
Till Florent Tarbouriech had the idea of sticking oysters on strings that are periodically dipped and taken out of the water by an electric motor powered by solar panels.

© T. Joly
 Oyster farm visit
Thus forced to open and close, as with natural tides, oysters develop more muscles, are fleshier and have a more complex, slightly sweeter taste. Raised for two and a half years before being sold, they are now exported all over the world and are found on the menu of the best restaurants. If you prefer, instead you can eat a brasurade, mussels grilled over a wood fire then drizzled with a white wine and herb marinade. And to accompany your meal, have a glass of Picpoul de Pinet, a crispy, dry white wine produced in the region that pairs perfectly with seafood.
Lastly, for those who are interested, the St. Barth also organizes boat trips to discover the family’s oyster parks and learn how they are raised.

July 12, 2017
Thierry Joly