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All About Caviar with Josh Rea from Gourmet Life

It’s not every day a girl gets to try the best caviar in Sydney, so when I was invited by Josh Rea of Gourmet Life to have a tasting, I jumped at the opportunity.

Gourmet Life is on New South Head Road, Darling Point, near Rushcutters Park, so for those foodie lovers wishing to picnic whilst looking out at the Sydney Harbour, you couldn’t find a better place to stock up on the gourmet essentials!

Josh is probably the most passionate foodie I have ever met! He travels the world sourcing the best products to stock in the store. Today, however, we are just talking about caviar!

Josh informed me that Gourmet Life currently has the largest collection of Sturgeon caviar in the country and it was time for me to have a taste! Now what I didn’t know that I was going to taste this delightful caviar off my wrist! Yes, that’s right, the really good stuff is eaten this way!

I’m used to the roe you by at the supermarket, which is best described as crunchy and salty, and I usually like it with a hard-boiled egg. Never again will I disgrace the true tasting of caviar after trying the Siberian Sturgeon that I licked off my wrist….stay with me here there is a story to this! What really stunned me was the creamy texture of this caviar and the subtle but ‘wow factor’ taste! I had three tastings all up, so imagine maybe ¾ tsp on your wrist that you eat, and believe me, that’s all you need! Tasting the real McCoy caviar is amazing!

The first taste was Gourmet House Siberian Sturgeon; the most commonly found Sturgeon around the world and comes to sexual maturity before any other Sturgeon. It produces eggs in a timely manner with a small delicate egg. The caviar is bought from Gourmet House who also supplies Emirates Airlines First and Business class. Josh told me that “the reason I’ve chosen this company from the small amount we get is because they can give me a quality product that I have not seen in any other part of the world”.

The second premium caviar tasting is again from Gourmet House; a hybrid caviar which is their Imperial. The Imperial is a cross between Beulga and Osetra and recognized as the most favoured caviar in Michelin restaurants around the world because the egg is nearly as big as Beulga and generally a third of the price. The Imperial is without pasteurization and the egg can be rolled around in your fingers known as ‘grain for grain’ or ‘egg for egg’ caviar and it’s really unique.

The Karat caviar of Northern Israel is farmed in a Kibbutz. It’s a very famous, Russian Caviar and very rare because farming takes 18 years for the fish to come to maturity, so it’s a lot of food you have to feed the fish and a lot of mortality in the fish before you can get a yield. If the Sturgeon, on the day of harvest, is not ready, then that fish will go on for another six months before it’s ready again in it’s cycle. Every fish is micro chipped in the pool, so as they take the fish out and take a small sample to see what the quality of the eggs are by rolling the eggs around and see what the colour and firmness is like, and once packed, it has to last about one year in the mother tin which is 1.8 kg in size. This is a traditional tin used for salting and curing caviar, they will put a 2-3 kg weight on top and let the natural omega oil flow out the side of the tin as it slowly compresses and makes its way out, then they wipe the tin clean and move it on.

Gourmet Life have the only supply of Iranian Beulga caviar direct from Iran to Australia and the only caviar in the world that is produced 100% organically and is a recognised ‘friends of the sea’ production.

Caviar Per Se produce Gourmet Life’s Trout caviar from the Pyrenees Mountains and otherwise known as the Mediterranean sturgeon; a very nice delicate smaller egg, and one of the best sellers, not only because it’s organic but they are very consistent and they are a very boutique farm that focus on high quality.

Gourmet Life expects to bring on another two suppliers before Christmas adding to their already famous stock of caviar.

If caviar is good enough, it really should be served off the back of the wrist. Josh told me about an age-old story about why chopped egg and onion were served with caviar. It was because a business deal was done with a very wealthy caviar exporter from Europe to American in the turn of the century and he shipped an incredible amount of caviar but the ship got stuck in transit to America and the whole consignment of caviar went bad, tons and tons of it. The saying goes the chopped egg and the onion was devised to disguise the metallic taste the caviar had been given by the lack of temperature control, and that really is a good disguise however when caviar is good, it really needs to be consumed off the back of the wrist.

Gourmet Life only carry unpasteurized caviar, and the reason is pasteurized caviar is a little bit like pre-cooking anything, takes that natural flavour away. They currently supply caviar to cruise ships, restaurants, Star City, David Jones.

I asked Josh what was the best drink to have with caviar and the answer is either Vodka or Champagne!

Just to finish off, if you love Truffles, then that’s a whole new story I’ll get around to soon, in the meantime here’s some photos of the Truffles available at Gourmet Life.

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