The Taste Of Luxury: Exploring Italian Caviar - Profood Limited
  • The Taste Of Luxury: Exploring Italian Caviar

July 24, 2017

When you think of where caviar comes from, countries like Russia, Iran or China are probably the first places that spring to mind – but what you might not know is that the Italian region of Lombardy is also a significant player in the production of this most prized delicacy. In fact, this area alone manufactures some 30,000 tonnes of caviar every year… no small feat when you consider that these tiny morsels are typically eaten in portions of just a few grams at a time!

We take a peek behind the scenes of Italian caviar and discover more about the gourmet product produced by Profood supplier and Lombardy native, ADAMAS Caviar. 

A Short History of Italian Caviar

Caviar production is certainly nothing new in Italy; as far back as the 16th century, the River Po was home to a healthy population of sturgeon. In fact, these rich and delicious eggs have provoked some strong reactions over the years, albeit not always the positive kind! In 1753, the Ferrara region was actually subject to a diplomatic war between the governing Papal States and the Venetian Republic over sturgeon fishing rights in the Po – historical proof that Italy’s passion for these luxurious little bites is every bit as strong as in those other more well-known caviar-producing nations, and that Italian caviar easily holds its own against big-brand producers.

Sturgeon Fishing in The Po River

Fast-forward to 2006, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species issued a ban on trade with many of the traditional caviar producing regions. This came as a result of intense commercial over-fishing of sturgeon, coupled with a lack of commitment by established producers to preserve stocks through self-regulation. A large number of Caspian and Black Sea region producers suddenly found themselves subject to this embargo, which effectively halted caviar export to a number of key markets.

Although subsequent years have seen the ban somewhat relaxed, in the heart of Northern Italy, a family-run producer was already taking a very different approach to caviar production. Breeding their own fish on a farm located in Lombardy’s Cremona province since 1988, the Giovannini family – who have been in the fishery business for three generations – have always been thoroughly committed to producing the finest caviar in the most sustainable way possible.

Not Your Average Fish Farm

ADAMAS’ farm draws its pristine waters from the nearby Tormo River, fed by springs from the surrounding plains. The company’s carefully selected sturgeon stock is housed in spacious tanks with a constant fresh water flow, painstakingly monitored to maintain a constant temperature. This, along with the sturgeons’ high-quality GM-free diet, helps to promote their safe and steady growth; however, ADAMAS’ commitment to responsible agricultural practices goes further than just fish food. The company utilises clean, photovoltaic power at their farm, working hard to ensure that the entire farming operation maintains a healthy ecological balance.

This mindful approach is not only good for the sturgeon, but also good for business. Keen to maintain quality and a regular supply, ADAMAS caviar has been adopted by Michelin-starred restaurants all over Europe, while the brand is a regular feature at gourmet trade shows and fine food exhibitions.

Zibo Cuochi working on new recipes using Adamas Caviar.

The key to maintaining this reputation for quality lies in both the rearing and processing of the caviar – each tiny egg is harvested from healthy, well cared-for fish, then handed over to ADAMAS’ master salters, where it is prepared in the traditional “Malossol” (from the Russian for “little salt”) method. The treated caviar is then carefully packed before being transported all over the world, including to us here at Profood, before finally hitting your plates and your palates! Who knew that so much history, hard work and dedication lay behind these little bites of indulgence?

Adamas Caviar getting ready to be shipped to Hong Kong

Stay tuned for next month’s blog, where we’ll be looking at the differences between ADAMAS caviar varieties and exploring the best ways in which to savour this very finest of foods, and don’t forget to check out our recipe for a fantastic caviar summer salad too!

About The Author

Kate Farr is a co-founding writer and editor at Editors' Ink HK, a blogger at Accidental Tai-Tai and a mum to two little boys. With a husband who's an enthusiastic amateur cook and two young sons with big appetites to feed, mealtimes play a central role in Kate's home life. Motto: "Diet? What diet?' Follow her on Instagram.

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