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- Claudia: Agroittica Lombarda Group in northern Italy
produces 15% of the world's caviar.
The group is based in the Lombardy region
and is split into two companies:
Ars Italica Caviar, which farms sturgeons
near the city of Cassolnovo,
and Calvisius Caviar, based in Calvisano,
where the two companies also share the extraction facility.
In total, both farms stretch over 250 acres of land
and breed seven species of sturgeon,
with 28 tons of caviar produced per year.
The most expensive caviar produced here, Beluga,
costs $5,700 per kilogram.
We visited Ars Italica's farm where there are four species:
Russian sturgeons, starred sturgeons, Adriatic sturgeons
and sterling sturgeons in the albino variety.
At this site, we can find 300,000 sturgeons
that can go from 1 year old up until 20 years old,
and they can reach a weight of up to 60 kilos,
and actually this site is close
to a natural reserve that's called Ticino.
The fresh water and clean climate of the natural reserve
make an ideal home for the sturgeon, which spends
its first years in indoor incubators with well water
and is then moved to an outdoor water supply
fed with resin water.
- Claudia: Sturgeons take from eight to 20 years
to produce their eggs, depending on their species.
At the top of the chain is Beluga,
which takes 20 years to mature.
When ready, the belly of the fish is sliced open
and the egg sac is removed.
After extraction, eggs are rubbed over a metal grate
and then rinsed to remove any impurities.
As flavors differ from fish to fish,
eggs from each sturgeon are packed individually.
The eggs are then salted following the "malossol" recipe,
which means there is a less than 3% salt content.
Then the eggs are packaged
and will be mature and ready to be eaten in a few months
depending on which sturgeon breed they come from
and on customers' preferences.
Oscietra caviar comes from Russian sturgeon,
Sevruga from starred sturgeon,
and Da Vinci from the Adriatic sturgeon.
- So we just left the production facility
where we've seen how caviar was extracted and packaged,
and now I've got in front of me a caviar tasting plate,
and we've got the Oscietra in both Royal and Imperial,
and then we've got the Sevruga one.
The right way to taste caviar is to either use your hands
or, if you want to use cutlery,
with a spoon made from mother-of-pearl or bone
because metal could alter caviar's natural taste.
Mmmh. So my favorite one is actually the Imperial one.
It really has some sort of nutty taste.
It's kind of strong.
It's less fishy. It's a bit more creamy in your mouth.
Twenty-seven species of sturgeons exist in nature.
However, as much as 85% of wild sturgeons
are now on the brink of extinction,
and regulations have been in place since 1998
banning wild caviar trade and fishing.
This is why many caviar farms use sustainable aquaculture
to produce their delicacy.
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Inside Europe's Biggest Caviar Farm

267 Folder Collection
Mustard Chen published on August 24, 2019
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