Louisiana Caviar Co., owned and operated by Amy Hollister Wilson, Alison Vega-Knoll and Alden Lagasse, is the company responsible for introducing Cajun Caviar to the world over 30 years ago. Harvested by hand from the fresh waters of the Atchafalaya Basin, Cajun Caviar is a singularly, unique Louisiana delicacy that is processed and packed according to the traditional Russian method. The bowfin used for Cajun Caviar have a distinctive flavor because they feed on crawfish, Gulf shrimp and other seafood that are indigenous to Louisiana. “Caviar was once reserved for only the wealthy; today Cajun Caviar is an affordable luxury that we are excited to share with everyone,” states Wilson. “While it pairs perfectly with champagne, it’s definitely a caviar that can be appreciated in everyday, casual eating and cooking, as well.” In addition to traditional caviar, Louisiana Caviar Co. offers Spicy Cajun Caviar, a version made with ghost peppers, adding spice without the burn.
“As a chef, I’ve had the opportunity to use a lot of different caviars on my menus, but I’ve used Cajun Caviar more than 20 years,” states Vega-Knoll, Chef/Owner of Station 6, and former Chef/Owner of Vega Tapas. “The process that is used has been perfected over the years, which has enhanced the quality. Even in the last few years, we’ve seen a better product; it’s a product I believe in and I’m excited to be a greater part of it.” The roe used to make Cajun Caviar comes from the Choupiquet (Amia Calva), most commonly known as the Bowfin. This prehistoric ganoid class fish, more ancient than sturgeon, is found throughout much of the Eastern United States and Canada, as well as the basins of the Mississippi River, and is one of only three true caviar producing species found in the United States (Sturgeon, Paddlefish, and Bowfin). The natural black color and delicate taste are not compromised by artificial additives, colorings or preservatives. With less than 5% salt content Cajun Caviar ranks among the finest Malossol caviars in the world. The caviar is hand harvested by Cajun-country fishermen who use a highly specialized process that gives the Cajun Caviar a much cleaner flavor and texture when compared to all other bowfin caviar.
Cajun Caviar is served in many of the finest restaurants in New Orleans and beyond. “Cajun Caviar has been on the menu at Commander’s since Chef Emeril oversaw the kitchen, and its quality has only gotten better,” states Tory McPhail, Commander’s Palace Executive Chef. “Having the opportunity to utilize a product with such richness and delicacy is a dream. The fact that it’s harvested right here in our waters makes it extremely special, and much more personal for me.”
Amy, Alison, and Alden are long-time friends and the wives of three renowned chefs, with Alison being a chef herself. Their shared love for fine foods and the South made their decision to buy Louisiana Caviar Co. an obvious one. “Being from the South, I have a passion for the importance of taking care of our heritage and supporting our local and regional economy,” states Lagasse. “When Amy and Ali came to me about Cajun Caviar, I knew right away that I wanted to help grow this Louisiana product and showcase what is so special about the South.”