Welcome to Montecito Caviar!

About Bulgarian Caviar

In Bulgaria, the local fisherman would offer fresh caviar from their latest catch out of a small hand cart. the delicacy was delivered to the front door of your home, or or straight to the kitchen of restaurants in the small villages and towns that bordered the Danube River. The ancient sturgeon were locally sourced from the iconic river as it meandered through the lower River basin region on it's way to converge with the Black Sea, renowned for it's exceptional tasting caviar.

This region and unique environment remains one of the last bastions of the wild Danube Sturgeon populations. A hundred years ago six species of the ancient fish were native to the Danube including the popular Beluga, Stellate, and Russian Sturgeons. Of these, the Ship and European Sturgeons, were swept to the brink of extinction. The effects of overfishing, disruption or loss of habitats and migratory routes, were made evident through an atrocious trend in decline of numbers in the wild sturgeon population, and Bulgaria implemented a general moratorium on fishing and trade of caviar from wild sturgeon lasting until 2015.

Long before the native wild populations were so severely depleted, Bulgaia embraced it's role as steward of this endangered species and their habitats. In 1995 Bulgaria began actively supporting the conservation of the sturgeon by encouraging aquaculture fisheries to begin promulgation and farming of the fish in a sustainable manner for caviar production. Since the inception of the first program near Plovdiv followed by a second successful operations established close to Vidin on the Danube River. Sturgeon are spawned and grown in ponds or net-cage farms, and it can take up to six years for a female Siberian Sturgeon to reach maturity for egg production and more then ten years for the Beluga sturgeon to reach egg maturity.

Bulgaria has had great success in diminishing the illegal sale of wild sturgeon caviar. This is due in part to strict enforcement and oversite of international CITES regulation requirements regarding production, harvesting and export of caviar. The rumored once prevalent trail of black-market caviar that slowly meandered up the Danube River, smuggled into Bulgaria by foreign sailors who routinely crossed the black Sea, has dried up. Bulgarian labeling standards are so highly regarded that criminal elements have been involved in attempting to label caviar that originated in the Caspian, as having been produced in Bulgaria to add legitimacy to a criminal venture. The Bulgarian Agency of Fisheries and Aquaculture (BAFA) has not reported any evidence of forged caviar labeling, and has had great success in large confiscations of equipment used illegally by fishermen, increasing Bulgaria's legitimacy as a conscious and active player in the production of sustainably farmed caviar.