Calvisius, House of Caviar
One of La Grande Épicerie de Paris’ favourite suppliers is a company of world famous caviar makers. Its unique knowledge associated with perfectly managed production means that it can produce really fresh caviar.
From manufacturing secrets to tasting tips, (re)discover the star ingredient of festive celebrations with S. Bottoli, commercial director of Calvisius.
La Grande Épicerie de Paris: what does the partnership with Calvisius mean to you?
M. Do Lai, purchaser for La Grande Épicerie de Paris: Calvisius, which farms its own sturgeon, is a historic partner of La Grande Épicerie de Paris. It offers a wide palette of different caviars, all distinguished by their irreproachable quality. Above all, of course, caviar is about taste and certain types are more appreciated by our clients, like Baeri and Ossetre; we offer them in different boxes, to suit all occasions.
This year, we went on site to the Calvisius estate, to select the caviar we will sell in the store. We were seduced by 4 varieties: the Baeri, the Ossetre, the White Sturgeon and the Beluga, available all year round.
Could you briefly describe Calvisius?
S. Bottoli : The Italian caviar house, Calvisius, has specialised in caviar production for over 40 years. Thanks to expertise developed through the years, we’ve become one of the world’s main producers of caviar.
One of our particularities is in the fact that we raise our own varieties of sturgeon. We chose six main ones: the Naccarii, the Adriatic sturgeon, the Baeri, the Siberian sturgeon which is also the most widespread, the Beluga, the Sevruga, the White sturgeon and the Ossetre. Thus, we control the entire chain of production.
The freshness of the caviar is our priority. We ensure that it is placed into boxes as soon as it is taken.
How are your sturgeon raised?
S. Bottoli : Breeding and raising sturgeon is meticulous, long-term work; we must wait between 8 and 20 years, depending on the variety, before we can take the caviar. Every step is, of course, important.
Our sturgeon grow only on our estate, in large basins of pure Alpine water. This is heated to between 18 and 23 degrees, the perfect temperature for their development. The fish are also fed with quality nutrients, made with small fish and cereals.
Our production methods are sustainable and respectful of the environment. We have, for example, chosen to liberate some of our sturgeon. So, we actively participate in the preservation of this protected species.
How do you recognise a good caviar?
S. Bottoli : A good caviar must, above all, be fresh. This can be detected in the details. For example, there must not be any oil on the surface of the tin when opened. That is a sign of poor storage.
The caviar must also not have any particular odour, in the same way that fresh fish has none.
The taste must always be delicate and pleasant on the palate, with subtle saltiness. Our caviars, for example, contain less than 4% salt to preserve all the flavours.
Finally, we chose not to pasteurise our caviar to preserve its fondant texture.
As an expert, what do you suggest best accompanies caviar?
S. Bottoli : Caviar is at its best as the heart of very simple associations. I recommend, for example, enjoying it with slightly warm and lightly buttered potato. It is important not to serve it too hot, because heat tends to diminish its flavour. Thanks to the play of textures, temperatures and flavours, this is an excellent association! The caviar brings its iodised notes, which contrast beautifully with the fondant potato.
I also like slightly warm pasta with caviar, to be seasoned with a simple drizzle of olive oil. These everyday recipes are delicious with caviar!