“Don’t come to me with emails! You can call me any time, even at night, but the computer … I’d rather deal with people face to face!” Walter displays a broad, cheeky grin. His eyes are sparkling with wit, and would you believe it? Walter Grüll is Austria’s one and only sturgeon caviar producer! We are so lucky to be here at the epicentre of good (fish) taste today, and Walter makes no secret of his success: Her loves to take us “behind the scenes” and into every corner of his shop and manufacture, as if we were well-known guests. But we are first-time visitors! At 09.30 a.m. even, we are his only guests, enjoying the privilege of … Walter. His entire family history, his open happiness, his love for his fish, the slow food movement, the careful management of natural resources: “I never planned for my whole family supporting me here in my business! And look how they are all here now. Because, you must know, the love for our fish runs deep. Sometimes, when I see one of my precious sturgeons – they can weigh up to 200 pounds! – I let them live for another five years or so, because I just cannot manage to kill them yet. All of our fish, live much longer than industry permits!”
And that is exactly why “Grüll’s Fischspezialitäten” taste so good. I daresay that I have never tried any such fish before.
Really? A world traveller like myself, who prides herself on checking out local food wherever she goes, joining cooking classes and the like – always in search for the freshest fish, whenever and wherever possible? Yes, I must say. The very best fish I’ve ever had is right here in the city of Salzburg. Of all places! Let’s move on to some photos, as all of my emotions can hardly be described in words alone.
Mum, Dad, daughter & son are all working here – the employees too seem more like friends or family than actual contract workers. Walter makes sure we also get to see and experience every little nook and cranny of his enterprise, including storage, cooling rooms and kitchen. Nothing remains hidden as there is nothing to hide. Amazing! Up until now, I did not even know about Austria’s only caviar producers, let alone how much fun it would be to meet them. Walter’s daughter has already been to New Zealand and will soon be off to Peru – we find out we have a lot in common! I really like it here.
But now, brace yourselves for more serious stuff. It is time for learning how to harvest our very own caviar – a unique “creative travel” experience!
“So … would the male sturgeons have the same amount of sperm as the female has eggs here?!”, I ask, rather at a loss at Walter’s expert and quick opening of the large and beautiful sturgeon in front of us, harvesting the world-famous caviar in what is almost one go: How this is to be done, is what we are here to learn. “Creative travel” at its most unique and exciting perhaps – after all, it is not every day that you learn how to squeeze caviar out of a sturgeon fish’ ovaries !!! 😀
Well yes. Travel means adventure. My extraordinary travel entrée as part of the Salzburg gourmet festival is best served in more photos, then – as mentioned earlier, the emotions are very hard to express in words. Check this out!
But it does not stop there. Walter’s “family” (both real and extended!) furthermore spoil us to a big fish lunch right after our creative caviar workshop. If only we were not so full after our early morning (caviar) tasting. Well, what should I say … travel writers lead a very hard life indeed!
On a more serious note, though. I LOVE MY JOB !!! 😀
Last but not least, I have a sweet message to share with you. It might have been Walter who wrote it, but we actually found it written on the wall of a cute little wine bar called “Köchelverzeichnis” in the old town of Salzburg. Make sure you check it out, too – a charming lady running the place and perhaps living life just as it is written here.
Long live all love for good taste, dear readers!
Disclaimer: We have been invited by Tourismus Salzburg in order to experience the city’s culinary highlights as part of the “eat & meet” festival. All opinions are my own.