The Ladan sturgeon, Huso Huso, also known as Beluga sturgeon or Attilo sturgeon, is one of the largest of all sturgeons, and is prized for its meat and caviar. It lives in the Caspian and Black Seas and was present in Italy in the Adriatic Sea and River Po until the 1970s. Its capture for the consumption and production of caviar is well documented in the Renaissance. The first Italian sturgeon recipe is in Bartolomeo Sacchi’s “de honesta voluptate et valetudine,” which was published in Venice in 1475. As early as 1942, in Ferrara, Benvenuta Ascoli prepared caviar according to an adaptation of the ancient recipe, circa 1549, by Cristoforo da Messisbugo, a famous chef at the Gonzaga court for the Duchess Isabella d’Este. Caviar, obtained from the eggs of different sturgeon species belonging to the Acipenseridae family, originattes from the Italian caviale or caviaro, which was in turn derived from the medieval Greek khaviari and from the Turkish havyar. Sturgeon is a fish currently in danger of extinction, and the few living specimens are found in the coastal waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the eastern Atlantic Ocean, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and in the tributory rivers. In both the Adriatic Sea and in the Po Basin, the presence of sturgeon today is occasional, which led to its breeding with aquaculture. Sturgeon breeding involves a very long production cycle – from five to 18 years depending on the species bred – and therefore demands higher premiums. Beginning in the 1990s in Italy, France, the United States, Uruguay, the United Arab Emirates and Chile, and recently also in China the breeding of Sturgeon in this manner has become more common. However, the Italian sturgeon farm is acquiring the greatest level of prominence and recognition in its ability to produce the highest quality of caviar from fish farming. International competitions, blind tasting, sales tests and scientific research have demonstrated the qualitative superiority of many caviars from Italian aquaculture. The strengths of this production are owed also to the traceability of the product, the control of the breeding environment, quality of the water, feeding and the optimal maturation of the female sturgeon. The proximity between fish farm and egg collection plant and the processing facility is also noted to improve the freshness and quality of caviar. For consumers and processors, an important aspect of aquaculture is human health and the food safety of the product linked to the origin and the methods of obtaining it, especially in regard to the risk of bioaccumulation in fish.Appropriate checks and certifications are guaranteed by the Memorandum of Understanding between the Italian Fish Farmers Association and the MiPAAF (Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies). This certification guarantees the origin and composition of the food for fish farming and the transparency of production processes. The range of caviar prices varies widely in fish farming. Sturgeon farming, in particular, is linked to long production times for this niche product. However, owing to an increased demand, including that of fine dining restaurants owned by famous Italian chefs such as Gualtiero Marchesi, this haute cuisine can now be priced more competitively.

Shop Now