Food & Beverage

May 1, 2015

A Whiter Shade of Caviar

Algarve, Portugal. A wonderful place to rest, to sunbathe. A place for a promenade by the sea, or a hike in the mountains. Here you can find underlying treasures of the bon-vivant, the most recent, curious and rare of which is CaviarBlanc.

White caviar is a relatively young trend. Discretely, back in the 80's, some escargot producers started to produce and sell the rarity, pasteurizing it to preserve, but it remained unknown. That is until the late 00's, when Dominique Pierru began vacuum packing it, seasoned with sea salt and rosemary, and slowly introducing the delicacy to the plates of the world.

In Algarve, Aldair Joaquim, the head behind the success, has made CaviarBlanc a success in countries such as Arab Emirates and Macau, and now it is preparing to export to China and Dubai. In Portugal, the company chose to approach the most renowned chefs, namely Luís Mourão, who explores the concept of White Caviar in the restaurant Al Quimia at the Epic Sana Algarve Hotel. The company sells the product to the chefs, each bottle of 28g costing €42. 

The company dedicated to produce this delicacy, in a town called Olhão, based its concept in the knowledge of "heliciculture" brought by his father from France. Heliciculture is snail farming, and in this specific case, Helix Aspersa Maxima, also known as Gros Gris, the species used for escargot, making this appetizing little pearls even more desirable.

But what is in fact white caviar? 

It may sound odd, and even strange, but it's actually escargot eggs! 

Also known as "Pearls of Aphrodite", the eggs of the Gris Gros escargot are pearly white round spheres approximately of the size of the more common sturgeon caviar, although completely different in so many other aspects. While the sturgeon caviar tastes more like the sea, CaviarBlanc has a more earthly taste, evoking forests, mushrooms and water streams.

The difficulty in breeding the snails, and produce the eggs, making it so rare and exquisite, is the simple fact that in one year, each snail lays only about four grams of eggs, enough to fill a teaspoon, and not all of them have what it is needed for the high quality standards of the brand.

According to CaviarBlanc, in order to obtain the best of the caviar pearls, the well-being of the species has to be guaranteed. The facilities and the team aim to reproduce their natural habitat, and for that it is crucial not to alter the natural conditions that allow Nature to provide us with such savory beautiful pearls. 

After collection, each pearl is manually selected, aided by the laboratory, and following the high standards of quality control. This is a long and complex process, resulting in this unique product that makes our mouths water and fulfills our eyes, elevating an almost 30 year-old artisanal recipe to the category of "Gourmet". 

The lightness of these pearls, the slightly translucent satin surface, the virgin white color, and the perfect roundness makes you crave for the taste if only of a single one of these treasures.

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