A farm in Abu Dhabi sells fresh eggs, but no, they’re not the kind you’re thinking of...
Whether you have refined tastes or just want to pretend that you do, you’ll be interested to know about a new caviar farm in Abu Dhabi.
Emirates AquaTech (EAT) in Mussafah is the largest indoor caviar farm in the world, and it now harvests and sells Yasa, a brand of caviar, and sturgeon meat in Abu Dhabi and internationally.
Caviar traditionally refers to roe – the ripe eggs of wild sturgeon from the Caspian and Black Sea – although the term is sometimes used to refer to roe from other fish as well.
There are four main types of caviar and each comes from a different kind of sturgeon: beluga, sterlet, ossetra and sevruga.
Beluga is known for its soft, large eggs, which range from pale silver to black. Sterlets produce small, dark grey eggs with a strong flavour. Ossetra eggs, on the other hand, are medium with a grey to brownish colour, while sevruga caviar, which is the most common, is typically identified as being smaller than the other kinds of caviar.
The word ‘caviar’ is a Persian term that means cake of strength. It’s a common assumption that the Russians began extracting and consuming caviar, when actually it was the Persians in the 16th century. They believed it had curative properties.
In the 18th century, caviar was regarded as the food of the poor until royal chefs introduced Russian tsars and nobility to it. This set in motion the demand for caviar as a delicacy – until 2008, when wild sturgeon fishing was banned under the Bern Convention, an international agreement to protect animals and the environment.
Since then, all legally-produced caviar has come from sturgeon farms such as EAT.
TOAD found out more from Sara Morales, the general manager of Garamond International – the Spanish company that represents EAT – so next time you’re out for dinner, you’ll seem like a caviar connoisseur...
How is the caviar harvested?
Our sturgeons grow and live in what we call a sturgeon spa, which is monitored at all times. When the sturgeons have matured, we scan them to make sure that the roes are perfectly formed, then extract the eggs and use the meat for fillets.
You say the farm is sustainable. Can you explain how?
Yes, the farm is fully sustainable, and nothing goes to waste. We sell the caviar and sturgeon meat; use the head, tail and bones for fertiliser, and treat the skin so it can be used in leather goods. We purify the water that the sturgeon live in and use the remaining, de-purified water for irrigation.
How do you eat caviar correctly?
To really taste the quality of caviar, you should try it alone because adding bread or toast disguises its flavour. Of course, if you simply want to enjoy caviar, it can be eaten with blinis, potato or cooked eggs, or added to pasta or fish dishes.
To eat caviar correctly, you should avoid using a metal spoon as this affects the taste. Traditionally, you use a mother of pearl spoon as it is the most neutral material to have in contact with the caviar.
What is the price range for Yasa caviar?
There are four categories of Yasa caviar, determined by the size of the roe. EAT’s top product is Yasa Royal, which has roe 2.9mm in diameter. It costs Dhs525 per 50g tin, which is enough for four to five people.
The next category is Yasa Excellence, with roe that is 2.7-2.8mm. This costs Dhs490 per 50g tin. Then we have Yasa Elite, with roe that is 2.5-2.6mm. This costs Dhs450 per 50g tin.
Yasa Premium roe is 2.3-2.4mm and costs Dhs420 per 50g tin. We also have Yasa pressed caviar, which has a consistency similar to jam and is ideal spread on buttered toast. This costs Dhs350 per 50g tin.
Where can you find Yasa caviar in Abu Dhabi?
We supply to outlets all over the city. You can find Yasa caviar produced by EAT at Sayad, Fishmarket and Catalan. We have a new stand at the fish market at Mina Port, too. EAT will also deliver Yasa caviar and sturgeon meat straight from the farm to any address in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order.
Sayad, Emirates Palace, Corniche Street, (02 690 9000). Fishmarket, InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Bainouna Street (02 666 6888). Catalan, Rosewood Abu Dhabi (02 813 5550). EAT, Email email@example.com,
www.emiratesaquatech.ae (02 693 9999).