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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.

- Claudia: Agroittica Lombarda Group in northern Italy

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C1 caviar sturgeon claudia starred extraction breed

Inside Europe's Biggest Caviar Farm

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    Mustard Chen posted on 2019/08/24
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