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Sunday 10 May 2015

A new decadent delight: Tasmanian caviar

Huon Aquaculture was started in 1986 by a young southern Tasmanian couple, Peter and Frances Bender; sheep and cattle farmers who decided to dabble in producing top-class fish. They had one pen of fish and one employee. 

Almost 30 years on, Huon Aqua employs around 500 people and is the largest privately-owned producer of salmon in Australia.

The company was Tasmanian exporter of the year in 2012 with its premium products much in demand globally, including at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market.

Now Huon Aqua is entering a new phase: producing three ranges of high-quality salmon caviar for the Australian and Asian markets.

Traditionally, the term caviar refers only to roe from wild sturgeon in the Caspian and Black seas, but depending on the country, caviar may also be used to describe the roe of other fish such as salmon, trout and whitefish. 

This decadent traditional delicacy can be enjoyed as a garnish or a spread and is a superb companion for either vodka or quality sparkling wine. 

Huon Aquaculture last week launched its 2015 season caviar harvest with input and advice from Christian Zuther-Grauerholz, the co-owner of Dieckmann and Hansen, the world's oldest caviar house. 

The star turn is caviar from salmon reared in the wild waters south of Australia's island state.

“It is direct from the Southern Ocean and that’s one of those unique characteristics that no other caviar producer can claim on the international market,” Frances Bender said.

“We’re not trying to be black caviar or beluga caviar. All we’ve ever wanted was to be uniquely Tasmanian and we think the new season caviar is just that.” 

The launch was a black tie affair at Hobart’s newest restaurant, The Glass House on Brooke St Pier - and local sushi master Masaaki Koyama (above) was on hand to serve Huon Aqua sashimi alongside the caviar. 

Asked about Huon Aqua's recipe for success, Frances Bender said: "It’s all about getting the basics right – and paying attention to detail."

She says the stress-free and pristine Huon environment in which their sashimi-grade salmon are raised has a lot to do with the company's success.

“We are very proud of this region,” she says. “It is a clean, beautiful place with a real sense of community and we wanted our product linked with the region – hence the name. 

"We think it is great that the story of the Huon is now being told all over Asia. And it is great that we can be champions for this remarkable region.” 

The three caviars in the range are Huon Premium Caviar, Reserve Selection Ocean Grown Caviar and Reserve Selection Hand-Milked Caviar.

For details visit: or drop in to the Huon Aqua tasting facility on Brooke St Pier in Hobart. 

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