The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Issue No. 13

A fun and festive edition: Provence, Christmas markets, brilliant book nooks in Paris, recipes, expat stories to inspire and a whole lot more - fall in love with France with us.

French Caviar a la Carte

French Caviar a la Carte Caviar is one of the most expensive foods in the world. Most think of it as a Russian delicacy but it’s also been produced in France for more than a century… Mike and Wendy McDowell from the UK have loved France since spending childhood holidays there and actually met in the Loire Valley. When the opportunity rose for them to start a business, working with one of the finest French caviar producers – they leapt at the chance. History of Caviar in France In the late 1800s, Russian immigrants who settled in the Gironde area noticed that local fishermen catching Siberian sturgeon in the rivers would eat the meat and discard the roe. This changed when the Russians showed the French how to create caviar and it became a popular delicacy. Following overfishing of wild sturgeon, the Government banned fishing for it and set up a partner farm to raise and protect the fish. There are now five caviar farms in France. Wendy and Mike work with Caviar de France, the oldest working caviar farm, based at Moulin de la Cassadotte, in the Gironde department. Entente Cordiale Thie partnership was formed when Wendy was made redundant from her job in 2011 with a trainer manufacturer. “We used the redundancy money to set up Fine French Caviar in the UK” says Mike as he recalls the stress of their new venture, just as their baby was born. “We spent countless nights lying awake worrying. I remember Wendy putting on lots of makeup to hide her baggy eyes so that she looked ready for meetings with customers! She set up a website and was taking orders whilst trying to feed the baby”. But they knew that they had a great product and it inspired them to keep going. They have two types of caviar – both exclusive in the UK. Diva is a smooth, creamy caviar for the more amateur palate, made using the "malossol" method, meaning that only fish roe and natural salt is used to make it, without any preservatives. It has an authentic, light buttery taste, with a hint of warmth and hazelnut. Ebène is perfect for the connoisseur’s palate, tender, subtle and well-balanced with a hint of oyster, sea urchin, butter and hazelnut.

There are a number of 'do's & dont's' when it comes to caviar. Never use a silver metallic based spoon to serve or eat it. The silver oxidises the eggs and kills the flavour. The proper way to do it: off the back of the hand, off a mother of pearl or horn spoon. Wood, plastic and porcelain are all fit to serve caviar too. You can also serve off a GOLD spoon, if you have one! Once they drove 560 miles in a day to do a taste session for their caviar with a top chef and his team. It was worth it. Wendy presented Ebène in a blind taste test and it won hands down “Pound for Pound Ebène caviar is the best caviar we have ever tasted” declared the chef. In fact their caviar is so popular it’s appeared on the BBC foodie show Great British Menu no less than three times. It was even used in a dish prepared by Britain’s youngest Michelin star chef Aiden Byrne, scoring a perfect 10 from the 2* Michelin Chef Judge. Now Wendy and Mike import the caviar to the UK, delivering not just to loads of top chefs but to consumers by post in chilled packaging that ensures it arrives in perfect condition. “It’s not just for celebrities, the rich and top chefs, it’s an accessible product that everyone can enjoy” says Wendy. Their website has lots of recommendations for how to eat it and pair it with other food, Champagne, perhaps vodka, but some of Mike’s favourite ways to indulge include simple blinis and a dollop of crème fraiche, or even with a little scrambled egg, or mashed potato. “Great French caviar and great British produce – it’s entente cordiale on a plate” quips Mike. Fine French Caviar Enter the draw to win Fine French Caviar in time for Christmas, see

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