Grüll fish farm, shop and restaurant of delicacies.
A production of white (golden), black and red caviar in Grödig bei Salzburg
Austria is a country that has a relatively low consumption of fish. Statisticsly, Austrians consume 90 kilograms of red meat annually, while only 8 kilograms of fish. Additionally, out of the almost 70,000 tons of annual fish consumption in Austria, only 3,800 tons are produced domestically as the country does not have access to the sea.
Salmon fish species are cultivated on farms as the water in local reservoirs is consistently cold and clean throughout the year. Fish from other regions tend to grow slowly and are not economically viable. Additionally, Austrians typically avoid fish with many bones, and species such as dipping, bream, and chub are not commonly consumed. However, there are some farms that have managed to establish themselves by offering unique products.
Austria-based entrepreneur Walter Grüll established his initial trout farm near Salzburg in the early 90-ies. Gradually, he began breeding Siberian sturgeon and got his entire family involved in this business. In the late 1990s, Walter Grüll became the first-ever producer of golden caviar in Europe. Albino sturgeons with pigmentation disorders mated, resulting in light-colored caviar with a yellowish hue. It tastes more oily than black and has a slight taste of egg white. The rare delicacy at once found wealthy buyers.
The Grüll family production has a team of around 25 employees. Walter, the owner, has ponds in Bavaria where he cultivates fish. In Salzburg, he has a farm with thirty cages from where the fish is transported to the cutting shop at the store. Once the sturgeon is opened, the caviar must be packaged into jars within 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. To preserve the caviar, it is treated with 4% salt and the liquid is decanted. One 15-year-old and 3-kilogram white sturgeon (Sterlet - Acipenser Ruthenus) can yield 100 to 300 grams of caviar.
Mountain streams, with their icy and crystal-clear water, flow through reservoirs where the fish are bred. These ideal conditions help in producing the highest quality delicacy. However, the sturgeon fish takes quite a long time to reach maturity in such conditions, around 15-16 years or even longer. At the age of 15, a Siberian sturgeon can weigh between 10 to 20 kilograms, while a white sturgeon or sterlet (Acipenser Ruthenus) weighs around 2 to 3 kilograms. They are fed with special fish-based food that contains high protein and low fat.
In Austria, there are laws that forbid farmers from causing torment and prolonged pain to animals. Officially, it is against the law to squeeze out the fish eggs from the living fish. This means that in order to produce caviar, sturgeon worth 8-9 thousand euros must be killed by hitting their head and cutting gills, resulting in its high price. A 30-gram jar of white caviar costs about 450 euros, while 1 kilogram costs 15,000 euros.
There is a product even more expensive than white caviar, which can be compared in price with rare types of truffles. It is Strottarga Bianco caviar powder, which is produced by dehydrating white caviar with the addition of salt and gold leaf. Strottarga Bianco is used as a seasoning in high-end cuisine dishes. To make 200 grams of caviar powder, 1 kilogram of fresh caviar is needed. If purchased directly from the manufacturer, 1 kilogram of Strottarga Bianco costs 100,000 euros. Typically, 1-2 grams of this seasoning are added to one dish.
In addition to salmon and sturgeon, the Grüll farm breeds catfish, walleye, burbot, and eel. They also receive supplies of wild oysters, scallops, lobsters, salmon, and other seafood from Norway, Italy, and Croatia. The Grüll fish shop in Grödig bei Salzburg has a delicacy bistro where you can taste delicious fresh fish dishes and enjoy various types of caviar. The menu changes daily depending on the fish placed on the shelves.
If you enjoy exquisite cuisine and seek a unique tasting experience, make sure to visit Grüll Fish Bistro or request to include it in our tour itinerary.