Antonius Caviar

A visit to the Fish Farm in Ruś

Perfection is never a fact. It is a process

With every day we want to get better. When we succeed, we never celebrate it alone as the success would be simply incomplete. There is nothing trivial about it – think about your university graduation, your promotions, your first apartment. If you don’t celebrate those special moments with the people around you, the joy loses with the daily routine. We feel the same way and that is why we would like to share with you something very important to us.

A few months ago we started an extremely ambitious investment. Actually, technically speaking, we should call it a modernization. However, when we look back and think about all our efforts, we come to conclusions that this one word is just not enough. For this reason, we invited exceptional guests to our fish farm in Ruś, and now it is perfect time to look back to this unique weekend.

Ponds matter the most

Certainly it is not a secret for you that our fish farm in Ruś near Olsztyn is located in area which is a part of Natura 2000 program. It directly borders on a nature reserve “Las Warmiński” and the Napiwodzko-Ramucka Forest. In this extraordinary natural place, Antoni Łakomiak, the President of the Management Board of “Gosławice” Fish Farm (that owns the farm in Ruś and Antonius Caviar brand), was waiting for his guests. He suggested a walk between the ponds. He talked about the history of the company, the secrets of sturgeon breeding and the unique values ​​of caviar. Even a layman, walking and trying to see where the ponds ended, would soon have realized that this is the leading sturgeon breeder in Europe. Especially when we take into consideration the fact that Ruś is only one of the three places where the company has its ponds. The following facts complement perfectly the whole set of data: Antonius Caviar ranks second biggest producer of caviar in Europe, and fourth in the world. And because during the walk the sturgeons were almost at hand, no one could doubt that very soon there would be a tasting. And of course there was as a shared meal is an opportunity to talk and to listen to gourmets and to share passion with them.

Weather on demand

Everyone in the family which founded Antonius Caviar is passionate about sturgeons. And so Szymon Łakomiak, the manager of fishing production, shared the details of how “caviar is made”. The guests were invited to a huge hall where sturgeons live in conditions almost identical with the natural ones. As the sturgeons move up the river to spawn – in Ruś, a stream of water imitating this natural path of fish migration becomes stronger just in the right place. The “weather” inside the hall should also be perfect. A proper control of the light and temperature can “transfer” sturgeons to selected months and sections of the river. Due to the fact that soon the time will come to harvest eggs, the guests in the hall could quite unexpectedly experience a cold January day. Such an advanced production process can compensate for any possible factors adversely affecting the quality of caviar. We pay special attention to water by making sure it is crystal clear, and we carefully choose the moment when the feed is no longer given to our fish. The sturgeon females are then biopsied and examined with ultrasound. When the roe is mature enough we start harvesting it. This is how hundreds of fish are verified each day. We should stress the fact that Antonius Caviar harvests only eggs from fully mature females (8-12 years old).

250 kg of caviar – daily

The next place that our guests visited was the processing plant. This is where caviar and fish are being prepared for sale. Marek Szczukowski, the President of the Management Board of Olsztyn II Fish Farm, welcomed our guests. The sterile conditions are what the company is known for. Steel walls, specialized clothing and a 6-hour full disinfection process conducted every night. Only in this way can you guarantee the highest quality product – real and unpasteurized caviar. But before chefs can use it in their kitchens or before it finds its place at your tables during parties it is still only roe. It must be placed on a special sieve where the roe is separated from the remaining fat. Then it has to be rinsed – the water needs to have a constant temperature and its composition needs to remain unchanged. Salting the roe is also a crucial moment. The success is guaranteed neither by standards nor by procedures. What you need is experience. Roe changes under the influence of salt and for this reason it cannot receive too much or too little salt. Finally, it is once again placed on a special sieve and after draining roe becomes caviar.

Practical aspects of caviar consumption

Everyone had been waiting for this moment as the tasting was, after all, the main event of the whole trip. Black gold took over the taste buds, and it was a sheer pleasure to listen to our guests telling us how many flavours they were discovering. By tasting less and more mature caviar, with different grain size, you can experience the whole richness of flavours and textures, and see shades: from black to light brown. In other words, you can indeed discover caviar.

Jacek Grochowina (Nolita)

Tomasz Olewski (Concordia Taste), Robert Skubisz (Amber Room), Artur Skotarczyk (MUGA)

Andrea Camastra (Senses)

Details and oxidation shock – caviar know how

It was also a great pleasure for us to talk with our quests about all the details concerning caviar. It is a product subject to legal regulations, such as: harvest, storage or transport. Agata Łakomiak-Winnicka, the sales and marketing manager, talked about the whole complicated logistics. She also interested our quests in the history of caviar – a product which has centuries of tradition and which has always been present in Polish culinary art.

– “Unfortunately, like all luxury goods, caviar is tempting for dishonest players”, she added at the end of her presentation, explaining in detail how caviar substitutes are made and why it is so important to buy black gold only from legitimate sources.

Next Jacek Juchniewicz, a specialist in fish nutrition, gave his presentation.  He talked about the role of feed in a sturgeon breeding process, as well as the impact of the quality of nutrition on the taste of fish and caviar. The subject was developed by prof. Jan Glogowski, who focused his speech on the biology of sturgeon roe. That was the moment when the metabolism of fatty acids and oxidative shock were mentioned. Fortunately, Professor Glogowski is able explain the most intricate aspects of ichthyological research to anybody, and please do forgive us – but we are not even going to try to explain it now. The lecture session was finished by prof. Mirosław Szczepkowski who talked about distinctness of sturgeon species.

Not to reveal all the secrets we remind you that there is still an opportunity to meet us. Follow us on Facebook, check out our blog and you will soon be able to join us during a caviar tasting. You can find us in the best restaurants, at special events – openings, jubilees, banquets. We hope that we will soon be able to meet and for now we just say: see you soon!