Mersea’S finest will form the key ingredient in an unusual creation debuted at this weekend’s Colchester Oyster Festival.

Chefs have created two new oyster-flavoured ice creams which will be unveiled at this Saturday’s event in Castle Park.

Don Quinn, one of the organisers, said: “The first is a mild taste of the sea with oyster notes in the background. It has a wonderful crunch and burst of flavour from chopped local samphire.

“The second is more gutsy and flavoursome using smoked oysters. It is a real taste of oyster with wonderful smoky overtones.”

Both are created with real cream and local oysters.

Also at the event, which marks the start of the oyster-fishing season, raises funds for St Helena Hospice.

As well as the chance to sample the delicacy, there will be competitions, food, music in the bandstand, fairground rides, a children’s corner and charity and craft stalls.

Richard Haward, a Mersea Island oysterman, promised the festival would be well stocked with Colchester Natives.

But due to attempts to try to stop the decline of the prized catch, the Oyster Eating competition has been cancelled.

He said: “This year our wonderful local delicacy is in short supply. Our oyster fishermen are working hard to conserve and improve stocks for next year.

“We want everyone to have a chance to try Colchester Natives and we can promise the public they will have plenty to try.

“We want to contribute towards the efforts made by our local oystermen by not having conspicuous overconsumption by just a few people. We want to have plenty for everyone.”

The event runs from 10.30am to 5pm.