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FISH ROE

One of the most representative and valuable Aetolian products of the Greek embalming of the aquatic world, is the Fish Roe of Messolonghi.

It is distinguished by a special taste, aroma and delicate taste. They are prepared by traditional technique and they don’t dry. They are kept for more than a year.

CHANTLER (1764) writes that "the Fish Roe of Messolonghi was sought after in Italy where they are eaten with lemon and oil!"

The Fish Roe is essentially the ovaries of the female “Kefalos” fish, which the locals call “Bafa”. The whole body of the Fish Roe is divided into two elongated and cylindrical lobes, which occupy about half of the body of the fish that contains them, surrounded by a thin film. After “Bafa” is caught, the following procedure is followed to extract the Fish Roe: The fisherman holds the fish with its tail up and skillfully carves the lower part of its abdomen with a well-sharpened knife. Then with his fingers he drags the Fish Roe out of the visceral cavity. In order not to "spill" the roe, they separate it from the fish together with the genital pore. The Fish Roe is then rinsed from the blood - if possible, with sea water - and "salted" with salt. Simultaneously with pressures of his fingers, the fisherman gives to the Fish Roe four-sided shape, which is stabilized by placing wooden pieces. After the preparation mentioned above, the product is placed in special cages to be adequately ventilated. There, they dry and become the well-known Fish Roe. We could mention that the drying is controlled in order the Fish Roe to have a blonde-honey color.

To preserve them for a longer time, the Fish Roes are "waxed". In other words, they dip it in melted yellow wax, which surrounds them with a thin layer and prevents them from coming into contact with the atmospheric air.

Of course, waxing reduces the value of Fish Roe. The color, aroma and taste have a slight alteration. People that love this kind of foods do not wax them, but put them in oil or in melted fine butter, where they are better preserved and without alterations.

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