All Under The Place – 6 Oct, Ceduna, Australia

Ceduna Oyster Fest has been going for 22 years now, and although this area of South Australia is the country’s biggest producer of sea food I was still amazed that they get through 24,000 oysters in one weekend. As we went about the festival today filming it for our Main Event we met people who had driven for 3 and a half days just to get their hands on some of the finest oysters in the world.

Oysters are the only form of shellfish I can actually tolerate eating, not that I’ve eaten many of them in my life. So I was pretty confident that I could handle today’s oyster eating competition, with Naomi and I going head to head to see which of us could eat 12 oysters the fastest. How wrong I was. Ceduna oysters seem to be twice the size of British ones, and as we stood blindfold in front of a tent full of spectators and the first one was tipped into my mouth I knew I was in trouble. It was like having a salty soft boiled egg in my mouth, and swallowing it whole was quite a mission. I kept gagging trying to get the things down, much to the crowd’s delight, and Naomi sounded like she was having an even worse time of it. By the time one of the other competitors had swallowed 12 I was on 9 and Naomi had only managed 3, so I was declared the winner. Not sure we were great PR for the Australian oyster industry.

In the evening we headed back to the festival to watch the closing fireworks, which had to work hard to rival the numerous stars twinkling over the pond-like sea. Stood there pondering how far from home I am, and how unlikely it would have seemed to me a few years ago that I would be doing any of this. It’s a gloriously bonkers way to earn a living.

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