Quintessence, in association with Catering News Middle East, invited a select group of chefs to an exclusive blind oyster tasting event to introduce its Princesses de Kermancy oysters to the Dubai market.
Quintessence, the newly opened UAE branch of a family-run Brittany-based shellfish and crustacean business, hosted a blind oyster tasting event at Ossiano, Atlantis The Palm to introduce its Princesses de Kermancy oysters to the Dubai market.
A group of top chefs from Dubai restaurants were invited to judge six varieties of premium oysters against five key factors: look, nose, weight, meat and taste. Once the scoresheets were tallied up, the winning oyster brand was revealed, with Princesses de Kermancy coming out on top overall.
“I can easily say that Princesses de Kermancy is one of the best oyster brands on the market” – Gregoire Berger, head chef, Ossiano
Explaining the purpose of the event, Quintessence managing director, Alexandre Pugnet said: “We started UAE operations last October and the issue for us was simple: how do you introduce a new brand, a new range of products and establish them against what the market has been happily consuming for years, particularly in a country with so many types of cuisines and where food costs often take precedence over taste or value? We wanted to compare Princesses de Kermancy to the currently available premium products but without the branding or so-called peer influence – just a test of the senses.
“We brought together a very objective panel of chefs and F&B operators from different backgrounds and therefore different palates, from different experiences, running different outlets and with various responsibilities, and therefore different patronage,” Pugnet comments.
When selecting the competition, it was Pugnet’s objective to compare Princesses de Kermancy oysters to other premium oysters. “We based our selection on local chefs’ recommendations and ended up with six top-of-the-range, premium oysters, five of which were from France, including Princesses de Kermancy, and one brand from Ireland,” he comments.
“The Princesses de Kermancy oysters are the most complete variety: not too big, not too strong but still with a lot of flavour. I strongly believe that it’s a good product, which has a place on a good table” – Francois-Xavier Simon, Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire
Commenting on the event, chef Berger said: “The oyster tasting was a great idea; the ranking was very interesting. We saw which oysters are best on the market, which have the best reputation, and which people preferred. It wasn’t only the fashionable brands, but also really good products that the expert palates recognised.”
Reflecting on how the Princesses de Kermancy oysters compared to the other brands, Berger added: “In my opinion, this is a really great product, especially given that the producer is not much further than 10km from my home town in a place that I used to go to often when I was young, for fishing and collecting shellfish on the beach. I can easily say that Princesses de Kermancy is one of the best oyster brands on the market.”
Sylvain Noel of El Chiringuito agreed that the event was an excellent platform for exchanging ideas and thoughts on the seafood market. “I found the oyster tasting well organised, fun and a learning experience. As chefs, we rarely compare the products side by side all at once and we should do it more often. I’m using Princesses de Kermancy oysters in my restaurant as they really conform to my taste.”
Sacha Daniel, group operations director at Solutions Leisure added: “The tasting was a very different event. I’m used to doing blind wine tasting but this was the first one with oysters. It really enlightened me and was a great, educational get-together. Being able to compare oysters from different parts of France was an eye-opener and really helped me understand oyster characteristics from different parts of the country.”
“They had more character, and were more saline and more rustic in shape and taste than the other ones I tried. From my point of view, [Princesses de Kermancy] oysters are a great new addition to the limited offer available on the market” – Sacha Daniel, group operations director, Solutions Leisure
Referring to the Princesses de Kermancy oysters, Daniel said: “They had more character, and were more saline and more rustic in shape and taste than the other ones tried. From my point of view, these oysters are a great new addition to the limited offer available on the market.”
And while the Princesses de Kermancy oysters were the favourite of the tasting panel, Pugnet explains that there is no objective right or wrong answer. “We’re delighted our panel preferred Princesses de Kermancy but that’s just a question of taste,” says Pugnet. “What these results confirm is that Princesses de Kermancy are the premium products we know them to be and there is indeed room in the UAE for them.”
The tasting was conducted alongside a roundtable debate, which focused on the opportunities and challenges associated with the seafood market in the UAE, particularly with regards to oyster varieties, provenance, and consumer education.
To find out more about Princesses de Kermancy oysters, contact Alexandre Pugnet: +97155 824 9961 / email@example.com