Can you give us a brief overview of N25 Caviar?
N25, the name of our brand, stands for the extraordinary origin of our caviar. Located at 25° north latitude, our aquaculture facility sits in the highland plateau at an altitude of over 2500m. It provides us with the cleanest air, purest spring water, and the optimal climate to raise the sturgeons that give birth to our caviar.
The foundation of our company is passion for great quality and uniqueness. We do not believe in the ordinary, we believe that great artisanal products come from pushing boundaries and often going against the norm. We strive to purvey the finest caviar that has been curated with care and precision. Every tin of N25 Caviar goes through 4 careful selections to ensure a consistent experience.
One of the most defining factors in achieving our unmistakable complex flavor profile is our unique aging process. During aging, N25 Caviar gradually develops complex and rich “umami” flavors. Because of our extraordinarily old sturgeons, they produce high quality roes that allow us to age them for an extended period of 3 to 11 months. At the end of the aging period, the membrane of the caviar becomes more translucent while retaining elasticity. This unique aging process gives N25 Caviar nutty and floral tastes on the palate with the right balance of saltiness, creaminess, and sea flavor, an umami experience with every spoon.
What was the philosophy behind the brand when it began and is it still the same today?
The reason N25 was founded was to bring a different level of caviar experience to customers. One with no compromise in quality and unique in flavor. Consistently offering the best available caviar in the world – and that is exactly what we are still doing.
Tell us about the brand’s core principles and how these are upheld in the company and its products?
It sounds cliche to say quality is the core principle, but when you get to understand how we work, you will understand what quality caviar really means and why we were able to enter a rather saturated market. Consistency is also one of the vital aspects. Even though caviar is a natural product and variation is unavoidable, and at the same time, a great thing, we maintain the same high quality through our meticulous selections.
How did you get into this business and what is your favorite/most rewarding part of it?
I have always been passionate about food, travelling around the world just to visit specific restaurants. I am a product fanatic, whether it’s herbs from the beach or rare vegetable varieties, seafood or meats, I am always fascinated and interested. A few years ago I realised that China was the largest, and best, producer of caviar in the world. Being half Chinese, I returned to China and contacted all the producers just to learn about caviar. After a few years of studying this product closely with the worlds best producers, I gained an insight to caviar that starts from understanding each step of the way, from sturgeon hatchling to harvest and finally packing the caviar into the tin.
Doing each harvest and production of the caviar myself gives me an unparalleled understanding of quality and the ability to select the best. I am able to check the sturgeons for the perfect maturity to determine if they are suitable for our harvest, then to check the elasticity of the roe, the color, the taste and decide on the curing method even. Being there every step of the way guarantees that N25 Caviar is of the highest quality and this is also the most rewarding part of this business for me. It is all about the emotion and passion that is involved in making caviar for me.
What are some of the difficulties you face in this industry and how do you overcome them?
The market has an oversupply of, in my personal opinion, mediocre caviar that is all very similar. Due to this, many people are not open to trying new things. Our clients and potential clients are those who value quality and are always looking to improve and seek the best, just like ourselves.
Can you give details on the products you procure, produce and sell?
We offer a wide range of caviars and each has their own unique flavor profile and texture. Our goal is to mature the caviar and select them at a point where the individual identity of each sturgeon species shines through – for example you get a briny sea breeze sensation with nuttiness from our oscietra and a very creamy, savory, egg-yolky flavor from the schrenckii.
Alongside our range of caviar, we offer carefully procured premium seafood such as Faroe Island smoked salmon, Brittany Blue Lobster and King Crab, all flash-frozen to preserve the quality and for convenient use. We also have two of our own caviar creations, one is a N25 Umami Salt which is a mixture of 4 types of caviar dehydrated and combined with fleur de sel. This can be used as a seasoning to enhance almost any dish from vegetables to fish and meat! We also have a hand-crafted organic butter that is mixed with our Umami Salt, the result is a luxurious and very flavorful butter with lovely nuttiness.
Caviar has great health benefits, can you expand a bit on these?
Caviar is not only a wonderful delicacy, but it is also incredibly healthy and supports your immune system. Sturgeon caviar has high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids (more than 15%) and various essential amino acids (lysine, glutamic acid, leucine and phenylalanine) (Park et al., 2015). Omega-3 is proven to be beneficial against the effect of inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, on central nervous system functioning (T Wysoczański et al., 2016). It has also been shown to decrease the proliferation of tumour cells (Horrocks LA et al., 1999).
Tell us about your caviar aging process and how this affects the flavor profile?
A common misconception when it comes to caviar is that fresh is best. In fact, if we are talking about complexity and depth of flavor, then the contrary is true. The aging/maturation process that we do enhances the flavor immensely. The nutty and rather simple flavor of fresh caviar transforms into something almost indescribable with a richness and briny creaminess with savory notes and pure umami that leaves you longing for more after each spoon. The texture softens and the membrane becomes more elastic and translucent.
Tell us more about your extraordinary sturgeons and how they are able to provide the highest quality caviar?
Just like in wine, terroir is important. The water, the feed and the well-being of the sturgeon are all of the upmost importance to provide the foundation for great caviar. We don’t use any antibiotics or GMOs in our aquaculture to ensure healthy fish. The exceptionally old age of the sturgeons we use gives the caviar very large grains and the potential for ageing.
How can one go about buying your products?
Our products are all available on our online shop for private clients and restaurant clients can contact us through Instagram or via email. We are happy to assist everyone by phone or email to explain more about each type of caviar and offer a customised selection for their personal preferences. Personal service is very important for us to ensure our customers are happy with what they get!
As we are based in Germany, we deliver directly to all customers in Europe. We also work with exclusive partners in Hong Kong (Waves Pacific), Singapore (Gourmet Partner), Japan (N25 Caviar Japan) and Thailand (Nai Lert Group).
How do you maintain quality and freshness when transporting your products?
All our caviar are shipped overnight with a courier and delivered to the customer’s door. The caviar is packed with frozen gel packs in a styrofoam box to ensure perfect condition upon delivery.
You work with some of the industry’s best chefs – tell us more about you who work with and the significance of these partnerships?
It’s an honor and pleasure for us to work with some of the best chefs around the world and to be fortunate enough to call many of them our friends too. Working closely with such talented chefs is one of the greatest aspects of this industry. All the chefs we work with care about quality produce and details; this is why they choose N25 Caviar.
Why do you think chefs have chosen your product to use in their restaurants?
Chefs who choose to work with us are ones who value quality. Once you taste our products and understand our philosophy, you will understand why it is the best caviar. We also offer an unmatched service and consistency of caviar, selected for each client individually. Even for restaurants in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore or Thailand, we are able to select and pack the caviar specially for them here in Germany.
What’s your favorite way to consume the different caviar and products you sell and why? How would you recommend they be used for maximum enjoyment?
To taste different types of caviar is best on their own as you can appreciate the different nuances and textures. Especially for aged caviar you get a longer aftertaste that lingers on the palate – a pure and umami sensation. This is also great for dishes because then you really get to taste the caviar amongst other components. Of course, each caviar can be paired with different types of food and each combination brings something unique to the plate.
What’s next for N25 Caviar, any new products or partnerships on the horizon?
We are currently working with some of the best restaurants in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and soon Thailand. Perhaps sometime in the future we would like to expand to the United States and UAE.
Visit N25 Caviar’s website to find out more.