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Oyster Isles: A Journey Through Britain and Ireland's Oysters

Bobby Groves

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Food & society, Cooking with fish & seafood, Travel writing

Oyster Isles is a journey around the oysters of the British Isles and Ireland, showing how their story is interwoven into the fabric of our history, culture, nature and people.

'Bobby's oyster travelogue is an ambitious, one-of-a-kind piece that shines a spotlight on the extraordinary and the everyday of the industry. It's the stuff that oyster bucket lists are made of' Julie Qiu, In A Half Shell blog

'A masterpiece' Sandy Ingber, Executive Chef of the Grand Central Oyster Bar, New York

'An amazing tome . . . The stories behind each oyster and location are informative, in depth, but, most importantly, fun' Michel Roux Jr

The oyster. Ostrea edulis. 'Edible bones'.

The Great British oyster is deeply embedded in our geographical, historical and socio-cultural landscape. Five-thousand-year-old oyster shells have been discovered in the northern reaches of Scotland, and oyster shells are littered along the extinct riverbeds deep beneath the London of today. A highly prized delicacy of the Romans, the oyster has always been a class leveller: an everyman food of the poor during the Victorian age to a food of decadence during the twentieth century. It is a superfood; a biological water meter; an ecological superpower. The oyster card, 'the world is your oyster' - it has even crept into our language.

Bobby Groves, Head of Oysters at the Chiltern Firehouse, takes us on a wonderful journey of the British oyster, a five-thousand-mile motorcycle odyssey of Britain's spectacular coastlines. He vividly brings to life this strange and marvellous creature, shining a light on its rich and vibrant history, its cultural impact and ecological importance as well as those oyster folk who work so hard to protect them.

Part travelogue, part social history, Oyster Isles is a celebration of the much-loved yet much-misunderstood British oyster.

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Bobby Groves

Bobby Groves is the Head of Oysters at London restaurant Chiltern Firehouse. Born in Maldon, Essex, Bobby began working at his local oyster farm, Maldon Oysters, in 2006, cultivating, delivering and exporting shellfish. He has also worked as an oyster shucker for various London food markets, shucking thousands of oysters per day.

As part of his research for Oyster Isles, Bobby undertook a 5,000 mile journey around the coastlines of the British Isles and Ireland on a Triumph motorcycle.

Bobby lives in London, supports Newcastle United and also plays the banjo in folk band Beans on Toast.

Instagram: @bobby__banjo / @bobbysoysters
Website: www.bobbysoysters.com

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