As evidenced by ancient manuscripts by Difilus from Sifnos in 3 B.C., recipes drawn by Athineus in 2 A.D and testaments that Herodotus and Aristotle were sturgeon egg enthusiasts, caviar dates back a very long way in history indeed.
Whilst ‘roe’ is a general word for collected eggs of marine animals, ‘caviar’ is a particular kind of roe from the sturgeon family of fish found in the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
Specifically, caviar is the salted eggs of the female sturgeon.
Being competent sailors and bearing a particular affection for fish eggs, the ancient Greeks were undoubtedly familiar with the sturgeon.
Famously skilled seafarers, merchants and fishermen, the ancient Geeks were driven, by the demand for the treasures of the sea, to sail the Aegean Sea through the straits of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus all the way to the dark waters of the Black Sea.
It was not until the 1780s, however, that a Greek merchant, Ioannis Varvakis, found himself in Astrakhan, Southern Russia and literally transformed caviar from what was known as a Russian peasants’ dish into an extravagant delicacy worthy of the European upper class.
Varvakis pioneered the vacuum packing method which made the international distribution of caviar possible and thus became the man who enabled caviar to be shared with the world.
Not surprisingly Varvakis is widely considered to be the ‘father of caviar’.
Thesauri is a leading company involved in sturgeon farming and caviar production in north west Greece since 1992.
One of the world’s precious few companies involved in sturgeon farming and caviar production Thesauri is, in fact, the only such enterprise in Greece.
Named after the Greek word ‘θησαυρός’ (theesavros) and the English word ‘treasure’ – the business name ‘Thesauri’ is a symbol of its commitment to deliver a one of a kind rarity and a treasure of taste.
Inspired by Ioannis Varvakis’s pioneering spirit, Thesauri brought the first sturgeon eggs from Astrakhan to its aquafarm in 1997.
Thesauri’s aquafarm is located in Arta and, at 330,000 square metres in size, it is one of the biggest in Europe.
Thesauri chose the bay of Amvrakikos to build its ultra modern facilities, ensuring the endless supply of crystal-clear, high quality water which provides the ideal breeding environment-a perfect simulation of natural habitat of the fish.
An open system with artesian water aquafarm, Thesauri breeds only pure species of gueldenstaedtii, baerii and beluga sturgeon.
They do not do not harvest hybrids.
In collaboration with Russian experts Thesauri has grown to become a highly-acclaimed pioneer in sturgeon harvesting and caviar production.
Following the introduction of sturgeon eggs from Astrahan over two decades ago, Thesauri’s products have been widely recognised and sold everywhere around the globe – even to Russia, long considered the world capital of caviar.
Throughout its 20 year history, the company’s source of inspiration has remained Ioannis Varvakis, the pioneer who made the international distribution of caviar possible.
Sturgeon is the common name for the 27 species of fish belonging to the ‘Acipenseridae’ family.
The earliest sturgeon fossils date all of the way back to the Late Cretaceos and are descended from earlier acipenseriform fish that date back to theTriassic period, some 245 to 208 million years ago.
Aipenseriform fish appeared in the fossil record some 245 to 208 million years ago (Mya) near the end of the Triassic, making them among the most ancient of still-living actinopterygian fish.
Amazingly, the sturgeon – referred to informally by scientists as a ‘living fossil’ – has undergone remarkably little morphological change since that time, indicating that their evolution has been exceptionally slow.
Over the past 50 years, due to the increasing popularity of caviar, the stock of wild sturgeon has decreased dramatically.
As such, certain species have been classified as endangered and are now being protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) – an international treaty founded to prevent species from becoming endangered or extinct because of international trade.
Following much careful testing and experimentation, it was concluded that sturgeon can easily adapt to the climatic conditions of Greece.
The sex of the fish is ascertained via ultrasound.
The female sturgeon gives the precious eggs after a decade or more and these eggs weigh between about 10 to 14% of its weight.
Thesauri caviar production
No matter how much water may have passed under the bridge since its consumption began, caviar still remains an exclusive handcrafted delicacy, the quality of which can be instantly discerned.
To master a product of the high quality and supremacy of Thesauri caviar, the method is long and arduous, with particular care taken to ensure its unique flavour.
The eggs of the female sturgeon are harvested and classified according to their size and colour.
Expert personnel at Thesauri follow the time enduring Russian process of preparation in order to ensure the product’s unique flavour.
The traditional Malossol salting process maintains the delicate finesse of its flavour while accentuating the aftertaste.
Quality tests are constantly held to ensure caviar firmness and excellent quality.
The Thesauri aquafarm has been assessed and complies with all the requirements of Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000. Furthermore, it is FDA approved for the United States market.
Every package is sealed with security tape and can be traced through its unique number printed thereon.
The end product is highly appraised by experts.
Thesauri prestigious events and international accolades
Thesauri caviar remains an exclusively hand craft delicacy, that has been recognised worldwide and invited by luxury brands worldwide to participate in their prestigious events
27th Xrysoi Skoufoi awards
For the people at Thesauri ‘Xrysoi Skoufoi’ is “the greatest institution in Greek gastronomy awards, one never to be missed!”
So naturally, Thesauri were beyond excited to be honoured as a key ingredient in Top World Chef Mauro Collagreco’s dinner de gala creations in Mirazur restaurant at Cote d’ Azur as part of the dazzling 27th Xrysoi Skoufoi award ceremony.
Politicians, entrepreneurs, artists and gastronomers from Greece tasted the exquisite menu and honoured the winners of the most influential gastronomic awards in Greece with their presence.
150th Anniversary of Moet & Chandon Imperial
Thesauri was also honoured, in that same year, to celebrate the sparkling event hosted by Moet & Chandon to mark the 150th anniversary of Moet & Chandon Imperial.
Taking place at Costa Navarino Hotel, Thesauri marked the occasion by topping amuse bouche recipes and crowning the event with luxurious tastes.
La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Launch
Furthermore, Thesauri took part in global leading luxury skincare company La Prairie’s event at Four Seasons on 18th July, World International Caviar Day, held to present their new line of caviar-based cremes.
Guests were offered the opportunity to get acquainted with caviar and its long history as well as taste it.
For the first time, Thesauri Greek caviar is available in Sydney, Australia at Gourmet Life, contact to order:
52-60 New South Head Road
Darling Point NSW 2027
phone: 02 9363 0775