A while ago my fellow foodie friend saw a deal on LivingSocial for the Marin French Cheese Company, which includes a VIP tour of the cheese factory and their aging cellars, a cheese and wine tasting, plus take home a selection of cheeses with a cheese board and knife set. I was immediately sold! But driving 2+ hours just to go eat some cheese? Seemed like a lot of work. My friend then suggested stopping by the Tomales Bay Oyster Company first for some good ol’ oyster shucking and barbecuing. There there, a fun day of oysters, wine, and cheese with great friends has been set in motion.
It’s a long drive to the oyster company, and because people show up early to grab the first-come-first-served picnic tables and barbecue pits, we decided to arrive around 10:30am to grab a good spot. It was a cold morning, but when we finally arrived, the sun came out and there was not a cloud in the sky.
Isn’t it beautiful? Grilling right next to the water.
The oysters at Tomales Bay were small. We decided to buy a bag of 50 medium oysters (from Washington St.) and 2 dozens of large (for grilling) to share between 8 people. Yes I know, that’s a lot! The boys were in charge of shucking the oysters, while the girls set up the lunch spread and get the barbecue going. Besides all the oysters, our glorious lunch spread included tempura and mushroom skewers, beef wrapped enoki mushroom skewers, pasta salad, and assorted cookies. TBOC also supplies free ice and let’s you BYOB. They also sell all the basic supplies for barbecues and oyster shucking.
For the grilled oyster, I pulled up some recipes online, here is one from Hog Island Oysters Co, which is another farm that you can picnic at, and they have two stores in San Francisco and Napa. Here is what I ended up using, which is a very similar recipe.
I simply prepped all the ingredients together and mix everything (except the butter) together in a ziploc bag the day before. I brought a stainless steel saucepan with me that can be put directly on heat. Just add the mixture plus the butter, let it melt and simmer for 10-15 minutes. So delicious!
Onto the cheese tour with our full bellies. Here are some pictures:
They make some amazing triple creme Brie and cow milk Camembert. Their breakfast cheeses are awesome, as well as the deliciously light le petit bleu. The wine we tasted that day were Fat Monk 2009 Central Coast Chardonnay and the Old Zin Vines from Oak Ridge Winery in Lodi. There is a great picnic ground by the water, you can pick up cheese, baguettes, and other deli food at their salesroom. The tour that we were on was a one time deal through LivingSocial, but if you visit them from Monday-Wednesday, you can witness the cheese-making process. They’re open 7 days a week.