By MANTA KLANGBOONKRONG
ONCE AN ALL-TO-RARE delicacy found only in top hotels |and on the most elite dinner tables, caviar will soon be much more widely available thanks to Thai-Russian firm, Caviar House, whose efforts to raise the sturgeon which produce the coveted roe are starting to pay off.
The Thai Sturgeon Farm, which was set up in Hua Hin back in 2014 to raise sturgeon fish both for their eggs and meat, is currently acquiring fingerlings or baby fish for the farm and once they reach their full potential, some 2,000 kilograms of black caviar will be produced every year and distributed on the Thai market.
“It takes a long time to get caviar, especially good quality caviar,” says the Bangkok-based Russian co-founder of Caviar House, Alexey Tyutin, during a recent intimate tasting session.
“It takes about two years to determine the sex of the fish. The male will be grown for meat, which is very delicious and rare, while the female will be kept for caviar. As they breed naturally in a cold climate, much care is needed to maintain the right environment, feeding content and conditions so the fish grow up to be strong and healthy and we can harvest the eggs.”
According to Tyutin, the fish are being kept at between 22 to 25 Celsius degrees to slow down their puberty and prevent them from growing too fast and accumulating too much fat. No hormones or chemicals are involved in the farming and the firm uses only 3.5 per cent of salt to preserve the caviar, considerably lower than other brands where up to five per cent is the norm.
“We want to showcase the freshness and the true tastes of caviar.” Tyutin explains. “Most brands use more salt so the caviar will keep for longer, probably a year in a fridge, but ours will keep only six months. Caviar has lots of health benefits. It can stop cancer at the very early stage, boosts the immune system and is excellent for the skin. So why spoil it with too much salt?”
Though the farm has not yet produced any caviar, the firm has already introduced four varieties of roe sourced from their partners’ farms in Russia and China that use the same breeding methods and farming know-how.
Tyutin recommends we start the tasting with the house’s entry level Classic Sturgeon Caviar, which is sourced from young fish of five to seven years old and has a mild and delicate taste.
Older fish produce better quality and stronger-tasting caviar and are used in the Premium Sturgeon Caviar, sourced from fish aged 12 years and older. The dark hazel-coloured roes have a nuttier and more prominent caviar taste.
“We use gold-plated tin boxes to prevent oxidation that would spoil the caviar.” Tyutin says. “The tin is designed in such a way so that when you close the lid, the air will be pushed out, keeping the caviar fresh. That said, once the tin is opened you should finish it within two days and keep it very cool or frozen at all times.”
Caviar is an acquired taste and choosing one is no easy task. The Royal Oscietra Caviar, which is made from the roe of the sturgeon-beluga hybrid fish, is heartier but soft. Firmer, slightly bigger roes have pearly grey and dark hazel colours. They are lush, buttery and crisp with a lingering aftertaste, making them a perfect suitor for champagne.
The ultimate treat is Beluga Caviar, which has the largest caviar berries and the most distinctive flavours. The medium- to dark-brown roes have an earthy saltiness that’s not unlike seawater and a buttery overtone that makes them very pleasing and addictive.
Prices range from Bt1,500 to Bt15,000 depending on sizes, from 30 grams to 200 grams, and grades. The products are currently available from the company’s website only.
More about Caviar House at www.CaviarHouse.co.th.
Call (082) 525 8887 and |(090) 7900997.