During this festive season, the black gold of sturgeons is always a classic that enhances the finest recipes. Here’s a short guide to the caviars you can expect to find on Luxembourgish tables this winter.
Russian, Iranian… the classics are still there, but we now prefer to focus on those who stand out from the crowd: the small caviar producers, the outsiders, the most dazzling… These days, you can taste caviar from France, Belgium, Germany and even Madagascar!
The latest arrival on the Luxembourgish caviar scene is sure to impress your guests: it comes from Madagascar, and many of the city’s gourmet restaurants have already snapped it up. “Rova caviar is a subtle and rare product,” explains Cathy Sahut, who is responsible for the brand in Luxembourg. “It’s the result of the work of a group of enthusiasts who moved to Madagascar in 2009, where the conditions are ideal for sturgeon breeding, with water temperatures of 20-23°C. The time it took to set up responsible infrastructures and import quality species led to the first production in 2017”, explains this lover of good food, who opened the Luxembourgish branch in 2022.
“We also offer the premium Kasnodar brand, which consumers can find at Vinoteca, Kraken and Thym-Citron”. What makes these products special? The presence of salt from Madagascar, which gives this black gold from an eco-responsible farm its uniqueness, which can be enjoyed “with fresh pasta, scrambled eggs, or simply pure”, as Cathy Sahut recommends. “The best thing is to eat it with simple products, and above all, it’s a product made for sharing and conviviality”, confides the expert.
While Luxembourg does not yet have its own sturgeon ponds, its neighbours spotted early enough the potential of this fine product.
Like Royal Belgian Caviar, a company that describes itself today as “the market leader in Luxembourg”. “Our company grew out of Aquabio, which made fish feed in the 1980s. In fact, they were the first in the world to produce food for sturgeon”, explains Raymond Tanghe, who is responsible for the Luxembourgish market. In the early 1990s, the company began breeding these precious fish in a closed circuit in Mouscron, on the French border: “This allows us to have total control over the quality of the water, without antibiotics, and to be able to produce fresh caviar all year round”. The first products from the Belgian company arrived on the regional market in 2002. “Since then, we’ve been supplying the best gourmet restaurants in the Grand Duchy,” he proudly adds. Individuals can find our products at La Grande épicerie Massen, in the north of the country, or in Kaempff-Kohler’s boutiques,” adds Raymond Tanghe.
Mais si d’autres belges, comme Mailian jouissent aussi d’une belle réputation, il ne faut pas oublier les produits français, l’Hexagone étant l’un des plus gros producteurs mondiaux d’or noir (caviar d’Aquitaine ou de Dordogne, comme la Maison Prunier que l’on trouve chez Kaempff-Kohler…), avec l’Italie la Chine et désormais la Pologne. Et même l’Allemagne produit son or noir ! Il faut dire qu’il existe dans le Monde, pas moins 700 élevages d’esturgeons dans l’hémisphère nord et deux dans l’hémisphère sud : en Uruguay et à Madagascar
But while other Belgians, such as Mailian, also enjoy a fine reputation, we mustn’t forget French products, as France is one of the world’s largest producers of black gold (caviar from Aquitaine or the Dordogne, such as Maison Prunier found at Kaempff-Kohler), along with Italy, China and now Poland. And even Germany produces its own black gold! There are no fewer than 700 sturgeon farms in the northern hemisphere and just two in the southern hemisphere: in Uruguay and Madagascar (source Geo).
The caviar of caviar?
While experts may prefer Beluga caviar, with its large grains and often longer maturation (around 18 years), and its creamy texture, novices can start their tasting with Osciètre caviar, “which has a great taste signature for us, with notes of hazelnut, delicate marine flavours and beautiful golden highlights”, explains Cathy Sahut.
Experts agree: pure or simply accompanied by a slice of buttered toast, that’s the best way to start your discovery of this product, which is gradually making its way onto every table.
At the price of caviar?
Considering that all consumer products have risen sharply in recent years, the price of caviar has not soared. This is undoubtedly what is beginning to make caviar more accessible to the general public.
Indeed, 50g tins (to be shared between two) are available in Luxembourg for around 100 euros. “Which is not a prohibitive price at all if you also take into account that everything is made by hand and that it takes at least seven years of work to produce a quality product”, Cathy Sahut points out. And of course, ranges can go up very quickly. For a Beluga (18 years) from Royal Belgian Caviar, expect to pay around €300-350 per 50g.
Will you add “black gold” to your table this year?
Picture: Rova Caviar