Not only this Valentine’s day, but for at least for once in a while we think that love is most effectively shared through a gourmet experience.
Just think of a lunch or dinner with friends, a little gift that you give someone who needs a break or shearing up. We selected our fines choices for the table, that not only taste good, but have a second meaning. Like the Caviar from the Altonaer Kaviar Haus that can be used, instead of salt for a fine dine experience on top of a poached egg, a butter toast or hot potatoes.
Vegan truffles by the finest organic chocolatier, made in Germany that actually have a healthy impact on your sweet desires. And a sweet treat by Balbosté, today the most stunning food studio in Paris.
Read our quick chats with the creators of these fine products to add new tastes and ideas to your table and gift list.
IRMA: Where do you relate about your products?
MARKUS RÜSCH: Our company has been founded by the uncle of my father – Mr. Max Schuldt – in 1925 in a district of Hamburg, near by the fish market, called Altona. At the beginning, Max Schuldt bought his Caviar from sailors heading with their ships the port of Hamburg and delivered it all through Germany. In the course of the time this business developed well.
My father, Gustav Rüsch, took over the business in 1959. With passion, enthusiasm and good confidence in this unique product, my father started to develop the direct business with the producers of Caviar at the point of origin, at Caspian Sea. His main target was The Soviet Union, where the roots of the Caviar production were since centuries. He was one of the first western businessmen to visit the Volga Region, the heart of the sturgeon fishing in the mid-60th.
I’m in the company now for almost 30 years, and I’m running it since April 1st, 2001. Since that date the changes in our business were huge.
We are now one of the worldwide leading Caviar Trading companies. We are happy and proud the live the heritage of our parents and carry our company into the modern world of Caviar. Now we work together with responsible aquacultures in Italy, France, China, Israel and Germany for so many years and our mission is to show how great the diversity is today with excellent und consistent quality.
Especially this new range produced in Germany. Roe, salt, done. Where else can you find this? Basically, you can only order each caviar from us preserved with sea salt. We are 100% convinced of caviar made in Germany with sea salt from Sylt. It is a real-time development. Customers want to know where the product comes from, the conditions under which conditions its produced and transported. All of this is transparent. And wherever we can, we become better with an eye on the environment.
IRMA: How do I recognize a good quality caviar?
MARKUS RÜSCH: That’s one of our core competencies. We are happy to be one of the very few in our industry who still know the Caviar from the Caspian Sea. We know how it should taste and look like, so we can perfectly select the good one from the second class. Fresh caviar smells like a soft sea breeze, with elegant iodic notes, but never “fishy” or „metallic“. You must try it yourself to understand this umami power of caviar, these subtle oceanic notes. Once tried, you will never forget a good taste of caviar!
IRMA: To your opinion, which are the best additions to enjoy your caviar?
MARKUS RÜSCH: Caviar has long ceased to be a symbol of decadence and opulence. Nowadays even top chefs combine it with down-to-earth ingredients. Make it nice and easy: So caviar is great with good oven-warm bread, buttered pasta, smashed potatoes or of course some home-made Blinis.
IRMA: Which drink underlines best the taste of caviar?
MARKUS RÜSCH: It fits what you like. But white wine or a fresh Pilsner are definitely caviar friends. A rather fruity wine goes well with stronger caviar varieties such as Siberian and Osietra. And an elegant Chardonnay underlines the delicate taste of the caviar. Sweet wine is also a perfect accompaniment, due to the delicate butritis notes that harmonize well.
IRMA: Do you have a recipe or meal suggestion that tastes even better with a little bit or more caviar?
MARKUS RÜSCH: Caviar prefers simple ingredients. A freshly buttered pasta, a soft boiled breakfast egg or a good fillet steak cut into slices and a piece of caviar on top – that’s perfect and pure delight!!
IRMA: When is the best time to enjoy your truffles? After dinner as a desert? Or can they be also a replacement for fine patisserie?
ALEXANDER KUHLMANN: For a fine, high-quality truffle, you should take your time – time to enjoy it mindfully and consciously. Let it melt slowly on the palate and taste the fine ingredients and characteristics. People love to give chocolates and pralines as gifts. You can’t usually go wrong with that.
IRMA: Can you tell me which ingredients make your truffles not only delicious but also a healthy sweet treat?
ALEXANDER KUHLMANN: To talk about health benefits would definitely be an exaggeration. Nevertheless, it must be said that high-quality chocolate products are the better sweets. They still contain fat and sugar, but the quality of the ingredients alone makes a big difference. At VIVANI, we rely exclusively on select organic ingredients and offer many vegan varieties.
IRMA: How long does it usually takes you to develop a new product and where does Viviani find the inspiration for new trends in the chocolatier field?
ALEXANDER KUHLMANN: VIVANI is a very dynamic brand. We always have our eyes open, on the hunt for new opportunities and trends. But we also draw a lot of inspiration from the wishes of our customers. In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for good truffle chocolates made from VIVANI chocolate. Voila, here they are. Classic and as a vegan alternative.
IRMA: Your packagings are jewels and the coloured fruit crystals for Loewe are a feast for the eye. How does a product come to life in your atelier?
CHARLOTTE SITBON: First my partner Sayaka and I will share our ideas and then brainstorm around the table, quickly we find the red thread that will support the storytelling of our creations, Sayaka goes into the kitchen, and I work on the overall concept of our future product (graphic concept, collaboration. For instance, we have been working with a young 3D artist for Loewe to create a unique mould to have the perfect shape! The tasting ritual, packaging and paper selection, communication and finally positioning follows exchanges/ ping-pong to arrive at the final product.
IRMA: Visually you always surprise your clients with things that connect to and with each other. How do you go about that? Where do you look for inspiration?
CHARLOTTE SITBON: With Sayaka we developed and followed a clear guideline: Daring to go off the beaten path through our culinary creations and our universe. It’s our “brand name”, our DNA. We started our own company to not be bored and to be happier.
We are inspired by everyday life! From an artistic installation or a performance in a gallery, a trip, a meeting, a YouTube video, to an old memory, an image, a flash of the past!
For example, we are fascinated by Italian, Venetian and Florentine micro-mosaics. These jewels served as souvenirs that we brought back from our trip. A work that requires extreme concentration!
We found that our customers did not dare to consume our food products right away. Our fortune cookies or marshmallows are for example placed on a shelf as decoration for a long time before being consumed. It’s a shame because we attach as much importance to the taste as to visual.
The link between our braided marshmallows and a leather accessory was obvious! We began very quickly to think about new models and symbols for each creation.
IRMA: Can you tell me how the collaboration between the leather good designer Cancellier Studio and Balbosté was created?
CHARLOTTE SITBON: In order to create unique atmospheres, Balbosté also collaborates with designers, paper artist or ceramists. When Serena the founder of Cancellier studio came to see us last summer It was the best opportunity to associate our world with that of leather goods.