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The “Avgotaraho” caviar from Mesolongi melts dainty in the mouth

12 March 2010 / 16:03:17  GRReporter
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The avgotaraho is considered to be a dainty since the age of the pharaohs and was an important element of the cuisine of the ancient Greeks. The Avgotaraho caviar is made out of the eggs of the female fish called bafa or mugilos by the local residents, however known all over the world as grey mullet which swims in the waters of the Mesolongi gulf. The female grey mullets are caught in the closed gulf at Mesolongi and their caviar is a trade mark of origin – one of the few sea products with EU stamping.  We have to point out that the gulf at Mesolongi is so closed that the water is not really salty, but it is actually rather sweet.

When the female grey mullets are caught the mature eggs are removed carefully from the fish in order for them not to splash, they are washed with sea water, they are salted with sea salt, dried at the sun and packed in melted wax. The fresh and good quality avgoraraho caviar has an orange – reddish color and has a salty, spicy taste, it is a little oily and has an after taste which melts dainty. With the time the caviar dries and becomes bitterer. In order to lay it on the table first you cut a thick piece caviar from the ready stick, you take off the wax and then cut it into thin slices in order for the guests to know that we do not eat the piece with the wax. You could place it on toasted warm break and serve it with a glass of ouzo.

The caviar could be used in various recipes, however it is also a wonderful hors d’oeuvre or appetizer for the ouzo or tsipouro. Dried and powdered caviar could be put on top of salads, sauces or the plate with spaghetti. One “stick” of caviar from the date of its production could last for about one year if we keep it in a refrigerator, however it is best to be consumed within a term of ten months. The sooner the avgotaraho is consumed the more stylish its taste is.  

Currently the caviar from Mesolongi is one of the most preferred gourmet dainties – it is recommended for athletes and children as it is a natural product with no preservatives, has a lot of proteins and vitamins (A,B,C, Omega 3). Besides it is a product with no colorants and has a lot of nutritious substances without having a lot of calories.

According to literary sources in the 18th century the avgotaraho was exported in Italy where it was enjoyed accompanied by a lemon and olive oil. However Lord Byron is the one who presents in Europe the richness of the Mesolongi gulf called avgotaraho, after he visits the town in January 1824. Before this in 1668 the Turkish traveler Evlia Chelebi says that the caviar is “blond like the saffron”, flavorful, tasty and energetic appetizer, “a true gift for the sultans.” From Chelebi’s  descriptions it becomes clear that the method of production has not changed throughout the years and the most important thing – the famous place which is its source remains the same – the gulf at Mesolongi.

Tags: Mediterranean diet caviar Avgotaraho Mesolongi
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