Sturgeon caviar, salmon caviar and snail caviar are among the most wanted types of caviar today. “Summer thunderstorm, autumn porcini mushrooms and pearls in the salty sea” — this is how experts describe the specific aroma of one of the most expensive types of caviar in the world.
One of the most valuable dainties in the world is produced in a small village. “Pearl of Venus” is a pathetic nickname which was given to the caviar of the grape gastropod by the leading news media.
The price of caviar per kilo starts from one and a half thousand conventional units (dollars). And almost everything that is grown in various states is bought by aesthetes from the United States, Japan and European countries.
Creators of this delicious caviar crawl in the attic of the cottage, warmed and saturated with moisture. There are more than 3000 of them, they slowly creep along the beams of a wooden house.
“There are a lot of them. We are surprised at how convenient and useful they are, they don’t make noise at all”, — said the nurse-breeder.
Before becoming a breeder, she used to work as a cook in the small village cafe. She has been looking after the kingdom of snails for two recent years. Natalya has already got used to her tiny pets and their needs.
Natalya is carefully observing the moment when a snail would crawl into the pot with special soil. This process means that there will soon be a new batch of snail caviar. “When the snail needs to lay eggs it crawls in search of the pot itself. Sooner or later it finds it! It can take three to four hours, maybe even a day”, — says the breeder.
Deep in the ground, it carefully looks for laying eggs. Mollusk spawns in small quantities — a dessert spoon on average.
“There are about a hundred eggs, three to five grams. Selective, delicious caviar”, — says Natalya.
So, snail caviar costs from one and a half thousand conventional units per kilogram being quite an expensive product, due to the very complicated and complex production. 98 per cent of domestic caviar of grape snails is acquired by reputable restaurateurs in Europe and America.
“Snail caviar differs from sturgeon caviar in its composition, which includes a special protein – mucin. Grape snail caviar is saturated with elastin. We use it also as the decor of various culinary delights: soups, snacks, salads.
In the CIS, they use Venus pearls on a slice of toasted bread which are especially delicious with rye rolls and butter”, — says Dmitry, the deputy chairman of the Snail Association.
It takes only one day for getting the product prepared: from the thermostat to salting. Snail pulp is produced without any chemical additives. It is stored only three months.
Generally, snails eat all the local vitamin products in order to lay as many eggs as possible. They do not create stable pairs and this does not bother them. Because snails are bisexual.
“Everyone likes to eat, especially tasty dishes. This is a specialized feed for snails with pumpkin”, — demonstrates Natalya her treat for snails. In spring, we give them carrots, beetroot, hay or even berries. They are fed once or twice a day after the walks necessary for a good appetite.
“They crawl out into the trough. The snail can feed on top since they have such a character. Snails need to climb”, – says the snail breeder.
In February, the collected caviar is not sold abroad. February caviar is collected to breed a new population.
Then all the eggs of snails are carefully transferred to the incubator. So in March, tiny kids will appear and enter into the new kingdom of snails in the farming village.