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About The Author


Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: December 9, 2013

Twelve Days of Oysters: Maine restaurants go beyond the half shell

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Photo by Ted Axelrod/Axelrod Photography

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me … an Eventide fried oyster bun …” Much tastier than a partridge in a pear tree, don’t you think?

Thanks to flourishing Maine oyster farms, local oysters are slurped and savored with gusto year ’round. However, in the days before refrigeration, the briny bivalves were once an eagerly anticipated delicacy at Christmas and the winter holidays — only in December was it cold enough to ship them, packed in ice, to markets away from the coast.

The tradition of eating oyster stew for Christmas Eve is said to have originated with Irish immigrants, who substituted the readily available shellfish for a variety of fish they couldn’t find in America.

In honor of the oyster’s association with the holidays, and with the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” playing in your head, feast your eyes on these twelve oyster dishes from restaurants in Portland and beyond.

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