What do you know about Canada and sturgeon and caviar? If you’re like most folks in Ontario (and beyond!), the answer is probably not much.
For that reason–and many more–we’d like you to meet one of Ontario’s frequent visitors from New Brunswick, Dr. Cornel Ceapa.
We’ve all heard that the world’s fisheries are in dire straits, and it gets even worse in some of the heavily polluted and fished river systems. Europe, home to caviar, now finds some of its rivers bereft of sturgeon, the ancient fish that lays the eggs.
Enter Dr. Ceapa. With his PhD in aquaculture and fisheries, he immigrated to New Brunswick early in the millennium with his wife and son. He has been developing a sustainable sturgeon fishery featuring two different types of sturgeon: short-nosed and Atlantic.
Situated on the St. John River, the fishery is slowly building its stock of sturgeon, to the point that Acadian Caviar is now supplying fertilized eggs and juvenile fish to Europe, Asia, and the US to increase the endangered fish’s numbers.
Until their sturgeon reach maturity, Acadian Caviar has been buying sustainably-harvested Atlantic sturgeon and selling the eggs and the meat. As soon as their sturgeon become mature—which will start happening within a few years—they’ll taper off and stop using wild fish, but will always measure the flavour and success of their product against the wild product.
Travelling frequently to Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto, Dr. Ceapa has become a welcome sight at a number of places where he can educate food lovers about the joys of caviar and fresh or smoked sturgeon: Oyster Boy, Culinarium, Diana’s Seafood, and McEwan’s Foods.
He’s also been part of events at a host of restaurants, including Jamie Kennedy’s Gilead Café, where our own executive director, Rebecca LeHeup, sampled his caviar with some of her favorite Hinterland sparkling wine.
Caviar’s traditionally served with blinis and creme fraiche, and also presents beautifully on halved hard-boiled quail’s eggs. Of course, there are lots of other ways to eat it too– including right off the mother-of-pearl spoon.
Keep your eyes open on Twitter and Facebook for more sightings of Canadian Caviar in the company of Ontario Hinterland wines, and don’t forget to add them both to your checklist for a very Canadian New Year’s Eve.