The idea behind caviar sounds simple enough. Get some sturgeons, harvest their roe, salt said roe, and you’ve got one of the most expensive delicacies in the world. Dig a little deeper, though, and the story of caviar becomes a rabbit hole of genealogy. Just like wine, the quality of caviar is dependent on its source and environment – in this case, the species of sturgeon, and the conditions they’re reared in. Now imagine being a winemaker and having an entire grape variety that’s exclusive just to you.
That’s the case for the recently launched Caviar Colony, a Singaporean company which has exclusive access to a sturgeon cross-breed, the Russian Hybrid. Started by two Singaporeans, Benjamin Goh and Celine Tan, Caviar Colony breeds its sturgeons amid the pristine nature of Yunnan, China. The fishes are given an antibiotic-free, organic feed that includes traditional Chinese herbs and salmon oil. When the sturgeons reach sexual maturity – which takes at least 10 years – and are ready to spawn, the roe is harvested. This gets mixed with mineral salt at between 3.2 and 3.5 percent. While the caviar is produced in China, the packed tins arrive in Singapore for final quality checks before being shipped for the international market.
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Created in Caviar Colony’s Artificial Insemination labs in Beijing, the Russian Hybrid is the off spring of female Oscietra and male Siberian sturgeons.
While the female usually plays a larger role in determining a hybrid caviar’s flavour, it is a 10-year long dice roll with hybrids while waiting for the first batch to mature and for the eggs to be harvested. “It’s always a gamble to see if the flavour of the caviar will meet expectations,” shares Goh. The Russian Hybrid did.
The resulting caviar has much of the Oscietra’s creamy, buttery richness tempered with the more subtle, nutty notes typical of caviar from the Siberian sturgeon. Now all we need is dry, finessed champagne or some ice-cold vodka.