Simon Johnson Caviar
As a purveyor of the finest quality food, it is no surprise that Simon Johnson has selected the prestigious ARS ITALICA as their preferred caviar producer.
At its most simple, caviar is the lightly salted roe of the sturgeon fish. It is only sturgeon roe that can be called caviar. Described as ‘living fossils’, sturgeons have inhabited this earth for over 200 million years. Today, 85 percent of all wild sturgeon species are on the brink of extinction.
Caviar production and consumption is an industry that is being rescued, both for the consumers and the wild stocks, by aquaculture farming and supporting programs led by groups supporting environmental sustainability, such as Friend of the Sea (F.O.S.) – delivering an environmentally-friendly and luxurious experience for connoisseurs or for those who want to treat themselves.
Special Offer + 20% off ARS ITALICA Oscietra Caviar products at Simon Johnson
Receive 20% off the entire range of ARS ITALICA Oscietra Caviar products in Simon Johnson stores and Simon Johnson online!
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Offer ends 7 January 2022, exclusive to Selector readers.
ARS ITALICA caviar melts on your tongue; Caviar of world famous prestige.
There are 27 wild species of sturgeon, all native to the northern hemisphere (there are no sturgeon species in the southern hemisphere) which were abundant across European and American rivers. Originally prized for its flesh, it is only in the past 120 years that the roe has become the product in demand. By the 1950s, most wild sturgeon stocks were under threat as they were heavily overfished or suffering due to increased river pollution.
Only in the Caspian Sea, bordering Russia in the North and Iran in the South, were sturgeons still found in good numbers. In the 1990s, with the collapse of the communist regime came the collapse of the controlled harvest for caviar. Poachers paid by the Russian mafia took over the marketing and sale of Russian caviar.
Since 1998, there has been an international ban on the fishing, harvesting, marketing and selling of wild caught caviar – all of which is strictly controlled under the CITES banner. Today, the future of these noble and ancient creatures is in the hands of farming – both farmed and wild caviar is being monitored, developed and improved by aquaculture farming. Producing some of the highest quality sustainable caviar and re-stocking the rivers through the release of sturgeon through cooperation with the Friend of the Sea projects and decades of aqua farming expertise.
Pure quality of caviar
ARS ITALICA’s Storione Ticino farm is near Lake Maggiore, Lombardy, in Northern Italy. It was the first and is one of the largest aquaculture sturgeon fish farms in Europe, producing over 20 percent of the world’s caviar. Located inside the Ticino Natural Reserve, which provides fresh water and a pristine climate, they control the full life cycle of the sturgeon.
ARS ITALICA specialise in pure species so they enhance and highlight their natural colour, size and flavour. At their farm, one of the species they raise is Oscietra Caviar (Russian Sturgeon – Acipensar Gueldenstaedtii) which grow to approx. 30-50kg and take up to 9-11 years to mature.
They are able to fine tune the character notes preferred by customers. Colour and egg size are often used as benchmarks for quality – the lighter and larger the eggs, the more prestigious. The rarer the colour, the higher the price.
Oscietra Caviar has historically been considered one of the most sought-after foods in the world, a precious and valuable caviar, second only to the Beluga. It is caviar exclusively prepared with the roe of the Russian Sturgeon species. The roe shell is fairly firm and should melt on your tongue (but not pop – this is a sign that the caviar roe has been pasteurised, which toughens the outside layer of the egg). The flavour is pure, tasty and quite rich, with hints of hazelnuts and butter. These flavours develop as the caviar matures.
The eggs are lightly salted, less than 3% salt content, a process that can only be done by the Caviar Master who trains for over 15 years. They are then packed in traditional tins to mature and ship.
The biggest difference today, through aquaculture know-how and the advancement of technology, is that not only are the eggs harvested at their peak, which guarantees flavour and sustainability, but more importantly, young immature sturgeon are not sacrificed through the haphazard nature of wild-caught fishing.
Friend of the Sea has become the leading certification standard for products and services which respect and protect the marine environment. The certification awards sustainable practices in Fisheries, Aquaculture, Fishmeal and Omega 3 Fish Oil. Friend of the Sea also promotes pilot projects related to restaurants, sustainable shipping, whale and dolphin watching, aquaria, ornamental fish, UV creams and others.