In the Valencian region of Campo de Turia, the French couple, Thierry and Régina have specialized in the cultivation of organic citrus caviar. "We are a gourmet family, and we enjoy tasting the cuisines of the world and appreciate all the exotic or rare flavors. This is how we discovered lemon caviar," explains Thierry. "Since we were unable to find any in stores, we decided to buy some trees for the house, so that we could have our own fruits. Soon we had about 40 trees at home in Valencia of many different varieties!"
"Our friends were often asking us if we had lemon caviar, so we decided to set up a farm in which we would cultivate in a sensible manner, respecting nature and implementing organic methods, in order to obtain fruits that would be full of aroma and flavor. The passion for these fruits is what guided us. We are a very small farm, run by my wife Régina, our daughter Caroline and myself," says Thierry, who, just like Régina, comes from a farming family in France.
"We have a field next to Valencia where we are currently growing 12 varieties (although not all of them are marketed). But the problem is that very few people in the world are familiar with the varieties, or should I say, sub-varieties, that exist, and that are very different from each other in terms of flavor, aroma, resistance and much more."
From the pink Pink Delice, Sun Rojo or Gold Sun, to the beige or green-fleshed varieties Lim Ice, Austral Ice, Miele or Verde Luz. The finger lime, or citrus caviar, offers a surprising range that is still largely unknown, with nuances in the flavor, aroma and acidity that range from those of grapefruit to those of lemon, and can even deliver spicy fragrances with woody undertones.
"This summer, we were visited by a great specialist from Australia, which is where lemon caviar originally comes from, and even she was surprised at seeing the varieties we had. Many professionals only see the variety of colors in the pulp, when the richness lies elsewhere!"
"Our motto is "Taste comes first". That's why we grow organically and, above all, in the open ground, without greenhouses. The harvest season for our fruits runs from July to November, depending on the variety."
The orchard as a natural ecosystem
"We have an organic certification for both the field and the company. For us, this was a priority, because it fits in our vision of agriculture. But we have made our work even more complex, adhering to the principles of HVE (High Environmental Value), and agroforestry. So we make sure to have hedgerows with multiple varieties of specific shrubs, water troughs, live ponds with amphibians and fish kept in the middle of the field, and other trees that grow naturally, and plots that are not cleared, etc."
Roasted lemon caviar powder, a unique product in the world
La Casa del Limón produces lemon caviar, although this is not the only exotic citrus fruit it grows. Thierry, Régina and Caroline's plantations also grow a rather rare variety of grapefruit, as well as many other fruit trees. Our field is designed to be an orchard; thus we have almond trees, olive trees, carob trees, apple trees, table grapes, plum trees, several kinds of oranges and mandarins, combawa, limes, etc."
"Roasted lemon caviar powder is a unique product in the world that we make from some of our lemon caviar. It is intended mostly for high-end cuisine and pastries, and it is used in a very different way than lemon caviar. Chefs in top restaurants love this product, which is difficult to work with; but it is normal that they do," says Thierry. "We are currently developing other products made from several varieties of our lemon caviar, which will arrive in a few weeks."
"We market our products to wholesalers in France and Spain, and directly to certain restaurants. The lemon caviar tree is characterized by being extremely sensitive to heat, cold, wind or drought; in short, to everything. Therefore, very few professionals are familiar with the lemon caviar varieties that exist, because they remain rare, with a very inconsistent supply. But as I said, we are satisfied with that; we are not involved in productivist agriculture, but in haute couture."
Photos provided by La Casa Del Limón de Carolina SL
For more information:
La Casa del Limón de Carolina S.L.
Calle Ave María, N.° 3, Piso 1, Puerta 1
46183 La Eliana, Valencia, Spain
Tel.: +34 605.271.480