From a picturesque corner of the Gironde, Caviar de France produces meticulously aged and treated caviar of the finest quality
“I’ve just got to wash caviar off my hands,” isn’t the most conventional way to answer the telephone, but, for the close-knit team at Caviar de France, it isn’t an unusual one. “That’s because our people are invested,” says Marketing Manager Heather Ducretot – after she’s cleaned up. “That commitment is the force behind our company; we all understand our product from start to finish. Everyone that works here can explain every aspect of how we work to any customer – from breeding the fish to tasting the caviar.”
A French company, based in France, with a historically French product, that kind of authenticity is cultural. Founded in 1993, Caviar de France is located in Biganos in the Gironde region, at the entrance of the Arcachon Bay. Its picturesque headquarters is an old flour-mill that dates back to 1834. “We’re on a small river-fed open-flow plot, occupying a little over 12 hectares,” Heather explains. “Our water comes through the farm and back out into the sea. We work as sustainably as possible and we’re very aware of the need to protect the environment because we rely on it. The quality of the water and the way the farm works is as pure as possible.”
As for the caviar itself, Heather notes that, much like wine, Caviar de France products go through a maturing process. “That allows the flavour to develop, becoming more sophisticated and longer-lasting,” she says. Our Ebene caviar, for example, has a superb lingering finish.”
The company’s customers hail from all over the world and all social spheres. Some are connoisseurs, others are new to caviar. “Something they all have in common, however, is that once people find us, they’re so pleased with the quality and flavour, they stick with us,” says Heather.
Such client loyalty is surely due, in part, to the personal touch of the “invested” Caviar de France team. “We communicate with sensitivity,” says Heather. “We don’t hassle; we build relationships. We don’t send endless emails and generic communications – instead, we get to know our clients and we contact them when we have products available that we think might be right for them. For example, I have a particular client who likes the caviar very fresh, very young, so when we’re harvesting, I’ll contact him at the right time. We establish relationships of trust, confidence and understanding.”
The company also runs small-group and private tours, which take place between April and September and can be adapted to each client’s needs. “People enjoy our guided tours around the farm, and these always end with a tasting, which we can tailor to each visitor,” says Heather. “We can discuss the caviar our guests would like, if they would like champagne or vodka instead of wine, and so on. It’s done exactly as the customer wants. We explain how the farm works and we’re totally transparent.
“We have people coming from all over the world,” she adds. “I had some Taiwanese guests last week, and some from Mexico City before that. Coming to France and seeing our farm is often very important to people.”
It goes back to that authenticity. “People who work here stay with us for a very long time,” says Heather, “and we’re a very small, very committed team. It’s a people business. I’ve been here since 2007 and, like everyone here, I know the business upside down and blindfolded!” And sometimes, even, with caviar on her hands.