Armen Petrossian

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Armen Petrossian is now chairman. (Dec, 2004)

Information below from: http://www.petrossian.com

It was in the 1920's that two Armenian brothers--Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian--first introduced Paris to the magic of caviar and, in doing so, founded the company that today is the premier buyer and importer of Russian caviar worldwide.

Petrossian Tsar Imperial is the title of preeminence we bestow on only those Petrossian caviar – be they our prized Beluga, our incomparable Ossetra or our exquisite Sevruga – that reveal an unmistakable superiority in every essential of taste, texture, color and size.

We also offer a tempting array of other delicacies, including smoked fish, foie gras & pâté, rich chocolates, and specialty teas & coffee. Behind each product, be it a delectable food or a tasteful serving piece, stands the Petrossian name and legacy of quality. It's your assurance of our commitment to the most rigorous standards of quality and the finest service.

Born on the Iranian side of the Caspian Sea and raised on the Russian side, the two Petrossian brothers emigrated to France to continue their studies of medicine and law which had been interrupted by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

During the "années folles", known as the “Roaring 20s” in the United States, Paris welcomed exiled Russian princes, intellectuals and aristocrats with open arms, and Parisians quickly embraced all things Russian, especially the arts, ballet, the choreography of Diaghilev, and the music of Igor Stravinsky.

Nonetheless, there was one thing missing from the Russian expatriates' lives: caviar. The French had yet to be introduced to this rare delicacy, a situation that the Petrossian brothers immediately set out to remedy.

Their first attempts to create an awareness of caviar in Paris were assisted by Cesár Ritz, the great impresario of the European hotel trade. His initial reluctance to offer caviar in his prestigious establishment at the Place Vendôme was quickly overcome as caviar caught on and assumed its own very special niche in the world of gastronomy.

For more than eighty years, the Petrossian family has continued to develop this market, maintaining a rare and privileged relationship with the Russian fisheries. Even today, the family personally choose, on site, the very best of the fresh, high quality caviar produced in Russia during each catch.


excerpt from: Caviar: The black market in black gold
http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article3289188.ece

The Independent
December 28, 2007

Depressed by news that their ancestral homeland was being overrun by vulgar proletarians, the White Russians did their best to recreate the life of the tsarist gentry in the French capital. One thing was missing - caviar. This was remedied by two brothers of Armenian descent who had been born on one side of the sturgeon-bearing Caspian in Iran, and raised on the Russian side.

Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian had emigrated after the revolution to Paris to continue legal studies but, unable to join French schools, they needed a cunning scheme to make money, and they spotted an opening. They pestered the Soviet embassy to sell them caviar and, eventually, the diplomats relented and arranged for a shipment of the black eggs to arrive in Paris. The Petrossians bought it for a suitcase of francs - hard currency the Soviets badly needed.

Initially, the French were distinctly unimpressed by the salty, fishy eggs, and the first customers were the White Russian émigrés, who could be found enjoying a spot of beluga at the Petrossians' shop on the Quay d'Orsay and the Caviar Kaspia restaurant. But soon the craze took off and, in the intervals of concerts and shows, Paris high society could be found shovelling spoonfuls of caviar, sold from stands in the foyer. Today, Petrossian is still a leading caviar company, based in the United States and run by the brothers' descendants, and the Caviar Kaspia restaurant still does a roaring trade in Paris, where 500g of beluga sells for £3,000.