As in many countries, the caviar industry in France bears the strong influence of the Russian culture since migrants from Russia brought the taste for the precious eggs almost a century ago. But if France is one of the main consumers of this delicacy in the world, it is also an important producer and a pioneer in sturgeon raising. The project of this blog is to show how France developed its own « culture of caviar » when fishers from Aquitany were taught how to prepare the sturgeon roe as soon as the early nineteen twenties and three quarters of a century later when fish farms opened a new chapter in the French history of the caviar industry. This blog also studies the geography of production, the links with tourism and of course the relations with the French gastronomy. The fight against the depletion of sturgeons stocks and for the survival of the local sturgeon, the sustainability of the production are not forgotten.
Afficher Caviar France sur une carte plus grande
some resources already on this blog (in French):
- French caviar: a new era :1990's, a small group of fish farms located in South western France revived the production of caviar in France. the beginnings were difficult, but on the verge of the new millenium, an improved and rising production let France become a major player in a changing global caviar industry.
- sturgeon meat 1 - 2. the siberian sturgeon was initially raised in France to produce meat. But when the possibility to obtain caviar from this species emerged, sturgeon meat became a mere by-product, rather difficult to sale: a pity in a country where sturgeon recipes date back to the late middle ages. When it's not exported to... Russia, sturgeon meat is mainly used as an appetizer (smoked sturgeon, terrines...), and if some chefs put the fish on their menus, most of them prefer to add caviar to some of their prestigious dishes.
-caviar and tourism: raising sturgeon already gives the opportunity to sale a high value good. But the strong personality of the fish and the myths surrounding caviar are good assets to boost tourism in areas producing caviar. Switzerland even created a resort around the fish tanks. What about France ?
-Caviar and Vodkas: In the departement (district) of Charente, close to areas where sturgeons are raised, distilleries are not only producing cognac but also vodkas. But even if some caviar producers also developped their own vodka production, many of them prefer to associate caviar with Champagne as a way to keep a very high standard for the French Caviar.
The author : Marc Lohez has been studying the geography of tourism since the late 1990's and especially focuses on the links with culture and gastronomy. His interest for the caviar production in France started in the early 2000's when he wrote a paper about farms raising exotic species (Ostrich, buffaloes and sturgeons), showing the ability of both the French gastronomy and the tourism industry to integrate those migrants.