La Perla – White Caviar- is a family company located in Chile and since 1995 has been preparing white caviar and exporting to France as raw material and finished products. The Snail Caviar or Snail Eggs are called Caviar d’escargot (and even White Caviar).
It has been branded with the commercial name “La Perla” meaning The Pearl.
Snail caviar comes from the species Helix aspersa Müller or Petit gris. Each snail lays around 70 eggs and this naturally happens only once per year, if the snail is kept in an outdoor setting. This is equivalent to 4 g of snail caviar.
Snail eggs in their natural state are without colour. Once they are processed, the snail caviar may become pinkish, white or of a cream colour. The size of snail eggs is 3–4 mm in diameter, but it could be up to 6 mm.
Snails are hermaphrodites and therefore each snail can produce eggs. They bury their eggs in soil about 4 cm deep. One method of harvesting eggs is placing snails in boxes that have soil and sand in them.
Comparing to other caviar – one snail only produces around 4 grams of eggs anually, whereas one sturgeon can lay 18 kilograms (40 pounds) of eggs – which makes snail caviar highly valuable on the market.
Once the eggs are harvested, selected and sorted, they are salted to preserve them. Eggs are prepared in Kitsu Salt (brine) and then pasteurized into glass caviar jars. This is done in a laboratory.
Snail caviar has a shelf life of up to 4 months from the harvest date, and must be kept refrigerated. Shelf-life after opening the caviar is 14 days when refrigerated.
Ingredients: snail eggs, Kitsu Salt and water.
- La Perla Snail Caviar
Invented in 1991 by Macarena Millar, this method of preserving snail caviar is unique. After years of work Macarena develloped a special way of preserving snail caviar, which allows the caviar to burst perfectly between your palate and your tongue. The recipe is as natural as possible and avoids pasteurization. She uses brine with Kitsu salt, rosemary essence, and citric acid. This process softens the egg without altering its flavour and texture.
La Perla snail caviar shelf life is 4 months, and must be kept refrigerated.
The membrane of the eggs pops when bitten into and shots of liquid inside taste very subtle, with slightest sweet, savoury, herbal and woody notes. Some say that snail caviar is like a walk in the forest after the rain. Its typical flavour resembles one of mushrooms, wood, oak leaf and baked asparagus. Snail caviar is crunchier than fish caviar and has an earthy flavour.
Snail caviar can be served in many ways. The most common is with blinis, sour cream and champagne. It may also be served in soups and deserts, salads or as an ingredient of the main dish. One interesting recipe is snail caviar with tuna, avocado, vanilla, chili and lime. There really is no limit to how you want to use snail caviar on your plate.
Before starting your journey to produce caviar be aware that this is very labour-intensive and heavy manual work. It requires a huge amount of work: cleaning the snails, removing excrement and dead snails, installing egg-laying traps, sorting eggs manually under a magnifying glass, the processing stage, bottling and labelling. However, if you find love and passion for doing this, the rewards are big and the joy of making something yourself can be worth it.