Regional Flavors

Oyster Map of Virginia showing 8 regions.

Use this regional flavor guide for Virginia Aquaculture Oysters to choose just the right oyster for the occasion.

The table below expresses the salinity of the growing region, as well as providing a scale rating for saltiness, sweetness, and buttery/creaminess.

Download: A Guide to the Flavors of Virginia Oysters

Scale:
1-2 : Barely Perceptible
3-4 : Slightly
5-6 : Moderate
7-8 : Very Noticeable
9 : Strong

Region Salinity Range Saltiness Buttery/Creamy Sweetness Comments
#1 Seaside 28-32 9 3 3 Initial bold saltiness mellowing into a taste of sweet butter/cream at the finish.
#2 Upper Bay Eastern Shore 16-18 5 1 3 Classic Virginia bay oyster flavor with balanced salt and sweet with a savory finish.
#3 Lower Bay Eastern Shore 18-22 7 3 3 Salty and Creamy with mellow sweetness and a quick finish.
#4 Upper Bay Western Shore 10-17 5 2 2 Sweetwater oyster with a light cream taste.
#5 Middle Bay Western Shore 16-18 5 3 3 Lightly salty with easily distinguished cream or butter and a pleasant slight minerality.
#6 Lower Bay Western Shore 16-18 5 2 2 Mild saltiness moving to a sweet finish.
#7 Tidewater 16-30 8 2 2 Salty oyster with a sweetness and a smooth finish.
#8 Tangier/Middle Chesapeake Bay 16-18 5 5 4 Traditional Virginia Bay Oyster flavor with a balance of salt and sweet, and a savory butter/cream finish.

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