By Reuters, SoShiok
December 26, 2012
These tiny little bubbles that burst of savoury luxuriousness are sold in little bottles for a hefty price tag.
Have you ever wondered why caviar is so expensive and how it is harvested?
Caviar is the roe of the sturgeon, and it is collected by hand.
Depending on the farm, the female sturgeon is either killed before the roe is removed or a special technique is used to remove the sac without killing the fish.
Switzerland's "caviar meister" Tobias Felix shared with Reuters on how caviar is collected.
First the sturgeon are scanned using ultra-sound technology to check that the roe (eggs) are ripe and ready for consumption. Once the sac of eggs is removed from the fish, Felix rubs the mass over a metal sieve-like bowl to separate them from the membrane and remove traces of blood.
"It's a bit like washing gold, only its black," said Felix, who says he never tires of sampling the delicacy. "It's great. I get paid to eat caviar every day."
Then a large pair of tweezers is used to pick out any eggs that are discolored. A fine, powder salt is added to the caviar to draw out the moisture, and make it glisten like black pearls.
Oona, Switzerland's first caviar brand, is sold as four different grades of caviar. No. 101 -- the best quality caviar -- contains eggs handpicked by Felix to have a minimum diameter of 2.6 mm and is around just five per cent of the total caviar produced. A 30 gram tin costs 215 Swiss francs (S$287.44).
Click on the thumbnail below for bigger photos.