The night Italian fine-dining restaurant Buona Terra partnered with Calvisius Caviar for an indulgent caviar-themed dinner.
Italian fine-dining restaurant Buona Terra recently partnered with Calvisius Caviar—one of the oldest and most revered producers of farmed caviar in Italy—to present an indulgent six-course caviar tasting menu. Available for one night only, the dinner was held on 14 May 2019 at Buona Terra, where the brand’s caviar expert Mr Roman Schaetti flew in specially from Italy to share several fascinating insights on caviar.
Mr Schaetti conducted a special preview before the event where he gave us an introduction to caviar—the process of how caviar is produced in their farm, the different varieties and the characteristics of each of them, and how caviar should be eaten. To help us better visualise some of the things he shared, a short video clip was played before we commenced on a caviar tasting flight.
We started the caviar tasting with the Tradition Royal, extracted from the white sturgeon, a native species of the Pacific Ocean. Using a spoon made from mother-of-pearl, Mr Schaetti scooped a generous dollop from the tin and served it on our hands—the area between the index finger and the thumb. We were told that this is the traditional way of eating caviar, as metal spoons can alter the taste of these delicate ‘black gold’ or ‘black pearls’ as some may call it. Instead of chewing them right away, the eggs should be rolled slowly in the mouth until they pop and release flavour. The taste of the Tradition Royal is perfectly balanced with round notes, combining delicate nuances of the sea with light, buttery flavours of pastry, and the time required to harvest this caviar is approximately 14 to 15 years. This delicacy is best paired with a brut (dry) or silky sparkling wine.
We were pleasantly surprised by the flavour of the caviar, which is buttery and mild with a clean salinity. Mr Schaetti explained the reason for this, which is their commitment to maintaining a pristine environment for their sturgeons, using only pure spring water in their farms and feeding the fish only the highest quality foods.
Next, we moved on to the Oscietra Royal, a type of caviar that is commonly served in restaurants here. Extracted from the Russian sturgeon, a species originally native to the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Azov Sea, the caviar boasts a subtle fruity and nutty flavour and its colour range from dark brown to light amber. The Oscietra Royal requires a 10 to 14 years life cycle.
An extremely versatile caviar, the Siberian Royal is extracted from the Siberian sturgeon—a medium-sized fish originally found in the fluvial basins of Siberia and Lake Baikal. This caviar only requires six to eight years of the sturgeon’s life cycle, and offers a bold pure taste. It is best enjoyed with potatoes, sour cream, crème fraiche, soft bread, or on its own.
Fourth on the list was the Beluga—the most expensive of the lot and is extracted from the Huso Huso sturgeon. Originally native to the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and the Above Sea, the Huso Huso is the largest sturgeon and the only carnivorous. Due to its rarity, the Beluga caviar, characterised by large eggs that are oval-shaped with a colouring of pearl to dark grey, is the most costly (about $335 per 30g). The time required to harvest this caviar is approximately 20 years of the sturgeon life cycle.
The last two varieties we tried were the Sevruga and Black Royal. The former, extracted from the Starry sturgeon, offers a full-bodied with a fresh silky taste and a slightly aromatic sea note at the end, while the latter, which is extracted from the white sturgeon, features a delicate and elegant taste.
After a comprehensive introduction to caviar, we moved on to the six-course meal, specially prepared by chef Denis Lucchi who helms Buona Terra. Notable highlights from the meal included the wagyu beef carpaccio served with white asparagus and oscietra caviar; the cold angel hair pasta served with truffle, sherry vinegar and beluga caviar; and the poached turbot served with red prawns, white wine sauce and Sevruga caviar. The dining experience was further elevated by classic champagnes from Dom Perignon, which had been specially selected to pair with each dish.