Oysters are associated with fine dining, amorous activity and the saying goes that we should only eat them in months containing the letter "r".

But now it's easier and cheaper than ever to snack on the shellfish - so what is the best way to eat them?

Experts have shared their wisdom exclusively with Food&Drink to reveal how best to enjoy them - and you should never slurp them down whole, they say, reports Daily Mail.

Etiquette expert William Hanson reveals the proper way to eat the briny-tasting creatures while oyster connoisseur Katy Davidson, the founder of London Oyster Week which starts on April 21, shares her favourite accompaniments as well as the best way to slip them down.

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Katy reveals that you should not swallow an oyster whole as it is a 'waste' of the shellfish, likening it to chugging a shot of a fine wine.

She reveals there are only two species of oyster in Britain: rock, which originally came from Japan but thrive in the UK and Ireland, and the indigenous native oysters.

She advises that if you have never eaten an oyster before, you should try it "naked" without any accompaniments.

But don't slurp it whole.

Instead she says the best way to enjoy the flavour of an oyster is to first sip a little of the liquid it sits in, before slipping it into your mouth and chewing it as you would with any other food.

She said: "One thing that definitely needs to be dispelled is the belief that you knock an oyster back in one, whole.

"I liken this to putting a fine wine in a shot glass, counting to three and getting past your tastebuds way too fast.

"The way to go is: Take a sip of the oyster liquor to get the palate going (this also handily reduces the volume of our bigger bivalves), then tip it in and chew as you would any other food.

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"This opens up a surprisingly complex and long flavour profile full of contrasting textures and characteristics."

William Hanson says you should tip oysters into your mouth using the shell after loosening them with a fork.

However if you are not given a dedicated oyster fork, you should never ask for one as it is considered rude, he said.

He told The Daily Mail's Food&Drink section: "The upmarket way to eat is to simply tip the contents into the mouth from the shell, having loosened the contents beforehand with a fork. Slurping is not advisable.

"An oyster fork is a Victorian middle-class invention and does nothing a normal fork cannot do.

"If an oyster fork is set, use it. If not, just use a normal small fork. Never ask for an oyster fork or that will set you into a class of your own."

If you don't want to try a raw oyster, Katy says it's not frowned upon to cook them and they are best barbecued or grilled.

Katy said: "I would usually recommend cooking with Rock Oysters mostly because their volume can stand up better to the cooking process.

"If you have plenty of Natives however, they too are fun to cook up, my favourite way to have a Native other than naked, is raw with a simple bit of ground black pepper and a tiny touch of lemon juice."

Katy's favourite oyster accompaniments are garlic with rosemary, and some spiced butter.

She added: "There are also many ways you can use oysters as an ingredient, both in main courses and mixology. Steak and oyster pies, oyster carmauroli, oyster ice-cream, and oyster mayonnaise, are just a few examples."