Those who appreciate caviar's unique qualities and refined taste can enjoy luxurious meals with rich flavors and unmatched textures. If you're just beginning your caviar journey, we've got you covered. Our beginner's guide to caviar will answer all your questions about this delicacy, from what it is to how to serve and eat it to the types you can find on the market.
What Is Caviar?
Caviar is a luxury treat people have used to complement dishes and please taste buds for thousands of years. This delicacy consists of unfertilized fish eggs — specifically, various types of sturgeon roe. Caviar is one of the oldest known delicacies and was traditionally a food only the wealthy or royal could experience.
While caviar first appeared in regions close to the Caspian and Black Seas, it has since become a well-known addition to many delightful menus. The American caviar industry began in 1873, but the fish were almost extinct due to overfishing by the 1900s. Today, you can find farm-raised caviar that provides consumers with a sustainable way to enjoy the delicacy while protecting the wild species.
Guide to Caviar Types
Although true caviar comes exclusively from sturgeon, you can still find a few different types. There are five main types of caviar that represent the majority of the high-end market. You can explore these beginner caviar types to discover what you like most:
- Beluga: This caviar is widely known as the most prestigious caviar in the world. In the past, this type of caviar has been a royal and elite delicacy as it has a traditional and definitive taste and clean finish. However, because overfishing has left a low number of fish behind, obtaining beluga pearls is illegal in the United States.
Ossetra: These firm pearls glisten in shades of gold, amber, brown and jade. Ossetra caviar follows closely behind beluga in prestige and has a buttery and long finish. Although you can find it in the United States, you should expect to sit on a waiting list and pay a pretty penny per ounce.
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Kaluga: Freshwater kaulga can satisfy your craving for the feel and flavor of authentic beluga. While the taste is saltier, this caviar's smooth texture places it on many favorite lists.
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- Sevruga: It can be challenging to obtain sevruga caviar in its truest form, which combines Siberian sturgeon, sterlet and sevruga caviar. If you can find real sevruga caviar, it offers delicate beads and a buttery, long finish.
- American: Although caviar is an international fixture, you can find excellent forms in the United States. You can find affordable American white sturgeon and hackleback caviar throughout the country. Either option makes an excellent caviar for beginners thanks to their wide availability and affordable price that helps sustain farms over the long term.
Serving and Eating Caviar
Serving and eating caviar is a delightful experience. Although some may have strong opinions about which method is best, there's no truly right or wrong way to do either. If you're preparing caviar for the first time, there are a few different ways to serve it.
Silver and other metal utensils can interact with the caviar, leaving it with a metallic taste. For your first time trying caviar, consider using the back of your hand between your index finger and thumb to experience the full flavor without distractions. When you reach for a utensil, ensure it's glass or bone or a mother-of-pearl spoon if you want a traditional feel.
If you're serving guests, keep each portion between half and one ounce per person. The proper way to consume caviar is in small amounts, so prompt your guests to marvel at the explosive flavors in each bite. Consider serving caviar with blinis or thin toast point slices with butter.
What to Pair With Caviar
The taste of caviar is buttery, with a slight fishiness. It may remind you of raw oysters with a richer flavor. You may also notice a nutty, bright or smooth flavor wave as you eat.
How to Store Caviar
Once you wrap up your event, you may still have some caviar left over. To maintain freshness and ensure your caviar lasts, you'll need to store it immediately — leaving your caviar in a room-temperature environment can impact its taste and quality.
While you can freeze unopened caviar if it's your only option, refrigerating caviar is the way to go once you've broken the seal. Use the bottom drawer of your fridge for storage and ensure the temperature is between 28 and 32. When you use the proper methods, it can last between four and six weeks.
A Guide to Buying Caviar
Several factors contribute to the price of caviar. The more time a business spends on processing, shipping, raising and harvesting a product, the more its cost will rise. Additionally, sturgeon are challenging to manage, and their endangered status adds extra complications to developing sustainable farming practices.
High-end caviar can reach extreme costs, but less costly caviar does not equate to lower quality. You can still find delicious caviar within your budget to enhance your meals with sophistication and tradition.
When looking at which caviar to buy, note the label and grade. While grade language varies by company, the highest grade will have a better appearance, color and flavor and the eggs will be intact. Lower-grade caviar is still a delicious experience but may lack egg uniformity, fragrance, color and size.
Ultimately, you should buy the caviar you enjoy most. Find a source you trust that can tell you about the farm's environment and water quality and if they've used any pesticides, growth hormones or antibiotics.
Explore the Best Caviar for Beginners From Imperia Caviar
Imperia Caviar is the one-stop shop for purchasing delicious caviar online. We make caviar more accessible while providing high-quality service and value to our customers. As a member of our Caviar Club, you can receive the best caviar quarterly, bimonthly or monthly. Our flexible subscriptions empower our customers to try new caviars or get their favorites again and again.
At Imperia Caviar, we take great care to package our caviar so you can always receive completely safe, high-quality caviar. Our freshness label lets you feel secure and confident you're receiving the caviar you deserve.
Whether you're a caviar connoisseur or trying it for the first time, you want to experience the best caviar you can find. Explore our selection of high-quality caviar today.