Traveling often makes it hard to access the internet and hence postings are sometimes limited. A quick trip to ToThalassaki the other day lets us sample a new bottarga being produced in Greece. This specific brand is excellent and very different from the popular type sold preserved in beeswax.
Bottarga, or botargo or avgotaraho in Greek is a treasured food from the Mediterranean with its roots in ancient north African cuisine. The prime spot for harvesting Greek bottarga is the lagoon of Messolonghi an ecosystem full of plankton and supplied by the estuaries of two rivers off the central west coast of Greece. These hallowed waters are a haven for the famed grey mullet. This Ionian lagoon presents the optimum conditions for the grey mullet to breed in – its waters maintain a steady temperature ideal for gestation.
The roe are gently removed by hand and dried in their delicate membranes. Next, the membranes are steeped in salt water before the fish eggs are gently detached from their protective shells.
These pure fish eggs are then left in the salt solution for a further 48 hours before being gently air dried and pressed between wooden boards. Only at this stage are they ready for the final stage in the production process, the roe are threaded on cotton and hung to dry for several more months.