There are comfort foods and there are luxury foods. There is good and then there is best. There is fish roe and wait for it… there is CAVIAR. Yes, the salt treated eggs of sturgeon fish that are little pieces of treasure, the best of which are found in the Caspian and Black Sea.
So, when invited to a caviar and salmon degustation organized by Indo-French Chamber of Commerce, it was an evening not to be missed. Set in the ballroom of the spectacular Dusit Devrana, the recently opened New Delhi resort property of the Thai hospitality chain, the evening was a treat for fish loving, wine connoisseurs like me.
Paired with Drappier champagne, there were Baeri Royal, Oscietra and Prunier Malossol caviar for one to choose from. Just like fine wine, each deserves its own set of tasting notes and this is how Sonia Baeriswyl, GM, Lux en Bouche, defined two of them,“ Baeri Royal is a pleasant caviar with light and woody flavours where the grains are loose yet firm with a black ebony colour. Oscietra Prestige on the other hand is festive caviar with subtle and nutty flavours. Its amber grains are a regular good size and are completely loose with an anthracite bronze reflection”.
My pick of the evening has to be the Oscietra – one little spoon in my mouth and it gratified a deeply rooted fantasy of my subconscious! Sigh. If the description doesn’t convince you, you must have caviar, at least once, for its nutritional goodness as it is rich in proteins and vitamins, confirms Sonia.
Besides the caviar, there was Balik Salmon for tasting. I tried the Balik Sjomga Tradition and Balik Sjomga Orange, both of which were simply divine – really difficult to have chosen a favourite here. According to Sonia, it is the crisp alpine air in Toggenburg, a small village in Switzerland which hosts the company’s facility, coupled with the quality of firewood and the craftsmanship involving minimum mechanization that makes Balik salmon stand out. The company also claims to use a traditional method of manually smoking its salmon, just the way it was done at the time when the Russian imperial court existed. (Quick trivia: the name Balik comes from the Russian word balik, referring to the back fillet of the salmon fish, considered to be the most noble of the cuts).
One might doubt whether Indians are willing to shell out exorbitant amounts for such luxury foods but Sonia remains optimistic. She has followed the Indian luxury market closely and is positive that the affluent Indian economic classes will take quickly to caviar. While the company remains tight lipped on the volume it aims to generate through the Indian market, expect them to be aggressive in their marketing endeveaours as they intend to start selling online soon and will also be promoting their products through social media. Goes without saying, hotel chains and restaurants will be one of their key customers but they also have plans of selling through premium retail locations.
Wondering how to enjoy that caviar lying in your fridge? Just simply smother the left over naan (Indian flatbread) with some whipped cream or cream cheese, add a morsel of salmon and top it with the caviar. You wouldn’t have felt this pampered in a long time, you have my word here!
Lux’en Bouche, a Reunion Islands based enterprise together with their Indian partners, Empire Foods, are exclusive suppliers of Caviar House and Prunier products to India.