There is a product that can bring the name of Latvia to the entire world in the same high level as it is done in the music field by Elina Garanca, Inessa Galante, Vestard Shimkus and Baiba Skride. But these are not sprats - it's locally grown roe.
Caviar has become a major gastronomic pride and asset all over the world. Historically it is bounded with numerous international scandals and conspiracies and still remains one of the world's most valuable and expensive delicacies. Nowadays even caviar production is affected by new trends. As a result, the black pearls re-appeared in the menu of the restaurant Vincents. And most importantly - they are produced in Latvia!
Roe extracted from farmed sturgeons is a more affordable alternative for chefs than expensive one extracted from vanishing wild sturgeons. Besides, extracting black caviar by killing the fish goes against sustainability of the industry and animal welfare. But the manufacturer Mottra from Latvia has introduced a unique roe removal technology that doesn’t require killing sturgeons and we in good conscience can include this delicacy in our restaurant’s menu.
The product is fantastic! Prior to its inclusion in the menu we tasted it several times together with sommelier Raimonds Tomsons. These beautiful, small pearls of caviar taste of the sea, with clear, pure and gentle salty aftertaste in which the notes of natural minerality can be felt.
It is known that I never include in the menu cultivated fish, for example, salmon from Norwegian hatcheries or groupers farmed in Greece. But roe is a different story. Over the time caviar from sturgeon farmed by Mottra proved the high quality of its taste, and in addition it corresponds with my conviction to the one of main slow food principles — avoid harming the nature. Particularly this innovative technology, which removes the roe from the fish in the form of gentle massage, ensures that the fish are not killed or sterilized.
The Mottra fish farm located near Riga on the River Daugava was established in 2002. The full production cycle is executed here — from roe to sturgeon producing it. Sturgeons and sterlets are grown here (the quality of sterlet caviar is the same as of the Beluga caviar). Special attention is paid to roe maturation process. Wild sturgeon lives in the sea, but goes into rivers to spawn. Roe matures inside the fish while it goes up against the stream. If the fish is caught in the sea and roe is milked, it is not mature enough and does not meet the quality requirements of caviar. But the Mottra separates the spawning fish from the rest for 3–4 months, putting it in the basin of cold, running water, where roe matures inside the fish bodies, forming a strong outer membrane.
Prior to packaging into the glass jars only the salt is added to roe, unlike commercially canned roe to which borax, boric acid, antiseptics or roe oil is added. It does not happen here - absolutely fresh caviar is filled into jars instead of marinating it in the cans. That's why Mottra roe has this fresh, slightly mineral taste instead of metallic tang. I do prefer sterlet caviar with its slightly nuttish and specifically strong taste that is different from the gentle fresh taste of sturgeon caviar. My guests are impressed by this slightly salted taste, as they are accustomed to the heavily oversalted caviar. Much salt should be added if you plan to store caviar for long time, but the Mottra regularly supplies us with fresh roe. It is recommended to enjoy roe on its own from the mother-of-pearl spoon, even from plastic, but definitely not from one made of steel or silver. And you can do it without guilt, but with a glass of champagne!
I presented Mottra product with great confidence to many celebrities, national leaders, gourmets and chefs from around the world.