World Cultures and Heritage
Bottarga is a premium food made from salted and dried mullet’s eggs, processed with traditional methods.
After three years of inactivity, the mullet fishing for the bottarga production starts again in the Mar’e Pontis fishpond.
The mullet is bred in a nursery in the seawater pond of Cabras, north west of Sardinia, province of Oristano. Fishing had been interrupted for a long period. In the meanwhile the irrigation canals clogged, the waters went dirt and the oxygen in the water dropped threatening the life of fish, bred and fed in a wild state using only the resources available in the pond.
The peculiarity of the mullet fishing is that it is done with bare hands to preserve the integrity of other species of fish. Nets are exclusively used to bring fish near to the banks of the fishpond, making the capture easier. The mullets living in the fishpond can reach a weight of more than 2kg.
A warehouse facility, few miles away from the fishpond manages and collects the freshly caught fish. In the warehouse, the mullets are immediately preserved in the blast chiller, with the belly facing upwards not to damage the eggs. The extracted eggs are then dried, salted and sold as bottarga. The rest of the mullet will be filleted and its meat dried and sold separately. Up to 70% of the fish is wasted at the end of entire process.
All images and texts © Giuliano Del Gatto / UnFrame
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