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    Guide to Bottarga

    Fish is an important part of a healthy Spanish diet, not just the flesh, but the roe, too. We are all aware of caviar, but something as valuable to the Spanish way of life is Bottarga – delicious salted, cured fish roe. Our guide deep dives into the history and intricacies of this precious rich delicacy.

    Rather than fishing for the truth, we went straight to the source. We interviewed Paco Rodríguez, Quality Manager of Herpac.

    What is Bottarga?

    Bottarga is salted, lightly cured fish roe pouch of a female grey mullet. It’s often referred to as “Mediterranean caviar” or the “truffle of the sea”. It has a wonderful deep golden, amber colour and a delightfully delicate taste. Bottarga is incredibly popular, particularly in the South of Spain. Internationally,  similar foods include Japanese “karasumi”, Taiwanese “wuyutsu” and Korean “eoran”.

    What kind of fish does Bottarga come from?

    Bottarga comes from a Spanish thin-lipped grey mullet called “Pardete” in Spain. It is a pelagic fish which is common on the coasts of many seas and oceans on the planet. Spanish pardete tend to originate from the warm coasts of southern Spain, especially off the coast of Murcia.

    What does Bottarga taste like?

    Bottarga has a deep, intensely nutty, salty taste and has a silky-smooth texture. It is one of the most distinctive tasting delicacies of the Mediterranean.

    What is the history of Bottarga?

    Paco Rodríguez explains “to find the origins of Bottarga, one has to go back to the very origins of Mediterranean culture – the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, ancient Egyptians and Romans.”

    The first documented accounts of Bottarga production are from the Nile Delta in the 10th century BC.

    Is Bottarga healthy?

    “Yes, Bottarga is a 100% natural product, with only three simple ingredients – grey mullet, sea salt and time. Bottarga is not only delicious, it is nutritious as it is rich in protein and serotonin” reveals Paco. Bottarga contains numerous vitamins including vitamin C, B1, E, E2, A, K plus other important vitamins in small quantities. High in protein, Bottarga is perfect for strengthening muscles.

    What is the history of Herpac Bottarga?

    Basco stocks only the finest authentic Andalucian Bottarga which is produced by Herpac. Paco gives us the full story; “Herpac is a family business founded in 1986 as a result of the effort and dedication of two brothers, Paco and Diego Pacheco. Faithful to the seafaring tradition of the village where they were born, Herpac is dedicated to producing 100% handmade salted, smoked and canned products, including Bottarga.”

    What makes Herpac Bottarga special?

    Basco selected Herpac Bottarga because it is exceptionally large, moister, and a cut above any other Italian or Greek cured roes. Paco adds; “we use a unique and extraordinary raw material, as well as the careful and expert work of a company faithful to its origins. It is a tradition that has been passed down from father to son for many generations.”

    How to store Bottarga?

    Bottarga is easy to store. Simply keep it refrigerated between 5–10ºC.

    How to eat Bottarga?

    Basco founder and professional Basque chef Javier De La Hormaza is a huge fan of Bottarga. “I recommend slicing bottarga very thinly and serving it on top of some ripe vine tomatoes. Sprinkle on some crushed fried almonds and finish with a drizzle of some quality extra virgin olive oil like our 100% picual Fuenroble that is dense and grassy. Bottarga is a very versatile ingredient that can be used as a seasoning agent or to give a punch of umami flavour when grated on salads, soups, risotto and pasta dishes. Serve it with a cold glass of manzanilla sherry as part of a tapas selection.”

    Where to buy Bottarga?

    If you are reading this, you are already on the Basco website and just a couple of clicks away from the finest Bottarga in existence. Basco stocks authentic Herpac Cured Grey Mullet Bottarga which you can order online for delivery direct to your door, chilled, vacuum packed and ready to eat.

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