BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) -The Oyster Festival is returning to the town that was once known as the seafood capital of the world.
Organizer Glenn Mattina Jr. announced Thursday that the festival will be held Nov. 9 at the Biloxi Town Green. Last year, the event was held in Gulfport.
Mattina said the event will be “celebrating seafood heritage, celebrating the oyster industry.”
That industry, he said “has taken a beating this year” because of the Bonnet Carré Spillway opening.
The centerpiece of the event will be the oyster cook-off. This year, in addition to the professional categories, Mattina said, amateurs will be invited to compete.
The professional division will be challenged to create a recipe to pair with a beer brewed especially for the event. Chandeleur Island Brewing has created Oyster Rhapsody, a bohemian pilsner.
Brewmaster David Reese said it is a lager-style beer.
The beer “has a great malt backbone, with an assertive, complex bitterness,” Reese said. “That bitterness really stands up to the richness of oysters.
“In food and beer pairing, you want to compare and contrast flavors, and you can find harmonies and flavors that cancel each other, and it’s a really beautiful thing what beer and food can do together,” Reese said.
Chefs may or may not actually include the beer in their recipe.
“We’re leaving it up to them. We’re saying here’s a beer give us an oyster preparation that elevates each one even higher than they are by themselves," Mattina said.
Another change for the cook-off will be professional chef judges. The chefs from Palace casino’s Mignon’s and IP casino’s 32 in Biloxi along with Tommy Cvitanovich from Drago’s Seafood Restaurant in New Orleans will be picking the winners.
Gates will open at 11 a.m. with the cook-off beginning at noon.
Entertainment will include music by Big Al and the Heavyweights, Sippiama Soul and Blackwater Brass.