The Imperial Heritage caviar house was founded by the Colman family – Mr Koenraad Peter Colman, his wife Mrs Kristel Berghmans and their daughter Miss Elisabeth Colman – in 2012. Still family-owned and run, Imperial Heritage guarantees the finest caviar selection from the most praised sturgeon species.
The prestigious caviar house stands for tradition and origin, holding on to the classic environment for the sturgeon and the old-school way of preparing and selecting the world’s best caviars. In so doing, Imperial Heritage presents caviar with a luxuriously refined flavour that respects nature’s balance.
To safeguard its pure original taste, Imperial Heritage’s sturgeons swim in entirely naturally-sourced water that is continually refreshed. The open-air lakes – which are located in Northern Italy – have a base of rock, pebbles and sand which creates the ideal natural habitat for the fish, resulting in caviar with premium taste.
The supervision and final selection of the fine caviars are assured by the Colman family. From father to daughter, they all remain inspired by one passion: to produce the world’s finest caviar. The caviar from Imperial Heritage carries a very important label of recognition: the “Friend of the Sea” – which is given exclusively to sustainable and environmentally-friendly products.
The tradition of preparing caviar has remained the same for thousands of years, and Imperial Heritage maintains these traditional methods. The harvesting, preparation and manufacturing process of caviar is incredibly arduous and follows strict procedures. After removal of the egg sack, the roe is carefully sieved, cleaned, rinsed and classified according to size, colour, flavour and texture. The properties will vary depending on the variety of sturgeon the eggs come from.
After classification, the roe is salted. The salting process relates to the quality of the caviar, so the quantity of added salt is carefully monitored. The main purpose of salting is to preserve the caviar and maintain as much of the fresh and authentic flavour as possible. Thus, the amount of salt used varies. The most superior type of caviar is prepared “Malossol”, a Russian word for little salt (<3.7%). Malossol traditionally was and continues to be used to inform customers that the product they are buying has not been over-salted, and has a high-quality taste. Aside from Malossol, there is pressed caviar, semi-preserved or salted caviar, and pasteurized caviar. Imperial Heritage Caviar is always Malossol, and is prepared and salted according to old traditional recipes by Caviar Masters from Russia and Iran. In the end, Imperial Heritage Caviar only has around 2,9% salt.
The caviar is packed immediately after the preparation and salting process, in traditional tins with a thick rubber band. This design of caviar tins has remained the same for decades and is still effectively in use today. The tins are fully packed with caviar and then squeezed down with the lid, forcing the air to escape while retaining the eggs in a tight oil pack. The thick rubber band holds the lid in place and ensures it remains vacuum-packed. Vacuum-packing caviar is extremely important as exposure to air is detrimental to the caviar quality. This traditional packaging allows the caviar to mature in a natural manner. The maturing process can take up to 10 months depending on what our customers prefer most and allows Imperial Heritage to offer exceptionally refined caviar, tailored to their customer’s preferences.
Based in Belgium but operating globally, Imperial Heritage’s products can be found in many regions including BeNeLux, South Africa, Saint Barthélemy and Dubai. The caviar is always provided from the latest harvest to ensure freshness and superior quality.
From traditional Russian Malossol to delicate Iranian caviar, Beluga (Huso Huso-Iran), Oscietra Royal (Gueldenstaedtii – Russian sturgeon), Sevruga (Stellatus) as well as Siberian, White sturgeon and Imperial roes, Imperial Heritage has a vast array of products available.
Imperial Heritage works with Michelin-starred restaurants, top chefs and first-class hotels. They also have other exclusive partnerships such as with The World Residences At Sea, as well as with Michelin BeNeLux and GaultMillau Belgium.
“These partnerships are really valuable to us. It is very rewarding to see that our Imperial Heritage Caviar satisfies even the most selective and refined palates, and to have it be appreciated by the best connoisseurs in the world is very special. I believe that chefs look for quality, purity and sustainability in their products, which is what we stand for. Our caviar is refined and elegant in taste, and chefs appreciate the tradition and skill in its production – like the fact that it is still salted according to the ancient recipes and that is matured the traditional way. And all of this, while respecting nature’s balance,” says Elisabeth Colman of Imperial Heritage Caviar
Some of their customers include:
- Eden Rock St Barths Hotel
- The World Luxury Residences At Sea
- Hof Van Cleve – 3 Michelin star restaurant led by Peter Goossens
- Zilte – 3 Michelin star restaurant led by Chef Viki Geunes
- Boury – 2 Michelin star restaurant led by led Tim Boury
- Fg Restaurant – 2 Michelin star restaurant led by Chef François Geurds
- Le Pristine – Sergio Herman’s new 1 Michelin star restaurant in Antwerp
- Dubai distributer: Salmontini
- South Africa distributer: Wild Peacock
- Saint Barthélemy distributer: Foodland Saint Barth
Enjoy one of the most praised sturgeon caviars and treat yourself and your friends to a unique caviar experience in a Michelin-starred dish (as pictured alongside) courtesy of chef Viki Geunes of 3-Michelin-starred Zilte in Antwerp.
“As chef I go for right balances into all of my dishes; finding this in the perfect fermentation, salting and aging of the caviar, makes our collaboration so unique,” says Viki about Imperial Heritage caviar.
For the Mousse:
- 5dl milk,
- 35g katsuobushi
- 2 Cevennes onions
- 5g gelatin
- 100g cream
- Heat the milk and then soak the katsuobushi in it for 3 hours. Strain.
- Chop and sautee the onions until they are translucent. Add the milk and let it cook gently, then purée it.
- Take 200g of the mixture as a base, add the gelatin and then fold in 100g of lightly whipped cream. Divide it evenly between deep plates and then finish with the jelly from the cereal broth later.
For the Cereal Broth:
- 2 pieces kombu
- 600g buckwheat
- 150g katsuobushi
- vintage mirin
- Soak the kombu for 12 hours in 4L cold water beforehand. Once soaked, place the water and the kombu in a pot on a stove and leave to simmer for an hour. Then add the katsuobushi and let it steep for another half hour.
- Sieve the liquid and then place it back on the stove and let it reduce.
- Meanwhile, roast the buckwheat in the oven. Once toasted, pour the reduced liquid over it and leave it to cool down. Strain the buckwheat out of the liquid.
- Season the liquid with some light soy and vintage mirin, then make a gel with it using 5 leaves of gelatin per litre.
For the Hazelnut Emulsion:
- 200g hazelnut
- 7dl milk
- 1dl nut oil
- 3 tbsp. light soy
- Boil the hazelnuts in milk and then blend into a smooth emulsion. Finish the emulsion with nut oil and soy.
For the Puffed Buckwheat:
- 100g buckwheat
- Boil the buckwheat until ¾ of the way done, then spread on a plate and leave it to dry in the food dehydrator until it is almost completely dry. Fry the dried buckwheat briefly until puffed up and crisp.
For the Cevennes Onion:
- 1 Cevennes onion
- 1L dashi
- Cook the peeled onion in dashi until tender, then cut into fine wedges.
- When the mousse with the jelly has set, spread the onion wedges over it.
- Add a few tufts of hazelnut emulsion, the puffed buckwheat and a few pieces of hazelnut.
- In the centre, place the Imperial Heritage caviar.
- Serve with thin buckwheat pancakes.
Image credits – Picture 1: Kris Hossey; Picture 2: Thijs Vervloet, Restaurant Colette; Picture 3 & 4 Belga Queen Restaurant Brussels; Picture 5: Viki Geunes, Zilte & Jurgen Lijcops; Picture 6-8: Viki Geunes, Zilte & Hungry for More.