The Festival of Ston Oysters

An acquired taste delicacy

Ever since the period of Roman rule in this area, Ston oysters have been considered among the best seafood delicacies one can savor fresh directly from the sea. However, not everyone appreciates the taste of iodine and consistency of oysters on their palate. They really are an acquired taste delicacy. It is said that you either love them, or you can’t even look at them. The only way to find out if you will love it or leave it is to try it!

Ston oysters have been cultivated in the bay of Mali Ston since the 17th century, which turned out to be the ideal location because of the clean sea, flow of freshwater, and specific sea currents. In the 18th century, the Senate of the Republic of Dubrovnik ordered the salt superintendents of Ston to draw up an ordinance for the cultivation and extraction of oysters, so it can be thoroughly discussed by the Rector and Senate members. Becoming aware of their value, they were adamant to preserve and stimulate the Ston oysters cultivation. Each family entrusted with cultivation tasks was granted a loan of 100 ducats, and they were required to plant five hundred branches per year. Breeders and their families were exempt from any public service so they could fully devote themselves to their task.

A variety of oyster and other clams dishes

Nowadays, oysters are still highly appreciated seafood with a distinctive taste. The best time to enjoy the Ston oysters is around the feast of St. Joseph which is celebrated in Ston on March 19. During the festivity, the local restaurants and oyster breeders offer special clams menus. It is a real gastro manifestation of seafood, so if you find yourselves in Dubrovnik or anywhere near the Pelješac peninsula in March, this is the ideal gastro day trip. You can taste various clams and oyster soup or risotto, deep-fried and baked in various ways,…accompanied with superb locally produced wines and cheerful Dalmatian music. Of course, the best way to savor oysters is in the simplest way possible: freshly opened and seasoned only with lemon juice. Our recommendation goes to Restaurant Sorgo, as they have specialized in preparing various oysters and mussels dishes.

Many have heard that the oysters are considered a natural aphrodisiac. Their aphrodisiac properties are attributed to the high percentage of zinc, which encourages sexual desire. Rumor has it that the famous lover Casanova had 50 of them each day for breakfast. True or false, if you visit the southern Croatian coast do not miss your chance to visit Ston and try Ston oysters’ delicacies.

For even more foodie activities in Croatia, you might like to check out our Dubrovnik food tour and our Dubrovnik craft beer tasting. Dubrovnik is packed with delicious food and drink — you just have to know where to look!