You've seen it in feature films, on high-priced menus, and in gourmet magazines. Caviar is quite possibly the most luxurious food item on the menu. Imperia is at the cutting-edge of a new culinary movement where, because of fair pricing accessibility, everyday can be a caviar celebration.
You know what it looks like, but if this is your first time or you have wondered how to eat caviar, then let us help you become a caviar master. Our goal is to help you optimize the experience by appropriate service and elegant style. Eating is the last step of Imperia's renewable process of retrieval, sifting, rinsing, filter, curing, packing, and delivery to your table.
Keep reading for a complete guide on how to serve and eat caviar like a connoisseur, how to purchase it, and some caviar etiquette tips. Make everyday a caviar culinary event!
What is Caviar?
Caviar is the roe or eggs of a species of fish called sturgeon. The highest quality caviar comes from Beluga, Kaluga (also known in Russia as River Beluga), Osetra, and Sevruga. All of these types of sturgeon fish eggs can be found in the Caspian Sea or the Amur River near Russia, making Russian-style caviar world famous for quality. Some caviar-substitutes are on the market, however they do not compare favorably with the original.
Caviar has been expensive because there are approximately 29 varieties of sturgeon in the world, of which 18 are endangered. Caviar also requires a labor-intensive process to harvest. Sturgeon spawn more than once in their lives but do so anywhere between four and ten years apart. So, while this delicacy is in high demand, it is in very limited supply.
Today, Imperia Caviar has an eco-friendly sustainable method to produce Grade A+ caviar without negatively impacting sturgeon populations.
How Is Caviar Graded?
Caviar is evaluated by professionals who then grade the quality of the product. In general, caviar can be a Grade 1 (A+ Grade) or Grade 2 (B Grade) product. Factors that determine the grade include egg size, color, clarity, uniformity, fragrance, firmness, separation, taste, and maturity. Imperia Caviar is all Grade A+. We never sell anything less.
What Are The Types of Caviar?
Real caviar must come from a sturgeon fish. So, while many vendors offer salmon or capelin caviar, it's far from the real thing. There are four main types of caviar derived from sturgeon:
Almas caviar is the most expensive of all the varieties of caviar. This type of caviar comes from the albino beluga sturgeon, which is very rare. The eggs are white and produce a creamy taste with a distinct nutty flavor. Almas caviar can cost as much as $34,500 per kilogram.
Beluga caviar is the second most expensive caviar. The eggs are large and provide a creamy taste. This caviar ranges in color from light gray to black. Importation of Beluga caviar to the United States is illegal. This species of fish is critically endangered and there have been prosecutions of illegally imported fish eggs.
Kaluga (or River Beluga)
Kaluga sturgeon produces large to very large sized eggs. These giant sturgeon are found in the Amur River basin on the border of Russia. The eggs range in color from a light brown to a dark golden brown. The taste of Imperia’s Kaluga Hybrid Reserve is mild and buttery with an exceptional mouth experience comparable to Beluga.
This type of sturgeon produces medium-to-large sized eggs that have a nutty and slightly salty flavor. The eggs can range in color from light grey to dark brown and even a light golden brown. The Royal Ossetra has the same high quality to Kaluga but is characterized by a more intense sea breeze flavor to it.
Sevruga sturgeon produces the smaller size eggs but are also the most readily available. The eggs can be anywhere from light gray to black. Sevruga caviar is considered more abundant than the other types and it has a more intense flavor profile.
How Does A Master Serve Caviar?
Your guests may end up asking you how to eat caviar so make sure you've educated yourself before you have everyone over! So now that you've purchased your caviar, you might be wondering how you should serve it. Always keep caviar in an airtight container until you're ready to eat, to avoid spoilage. Never serve caviar at room temperature. In fact, caviar doesn't freeze until below 28 degrees, so it's possible to get it very cold. Store it in the back of your fridge and let the chill settle for several hours before serving.
What to Eat with Caviar?
As caviar is such a special treat, it should be the star on the table. Don't serve caviar with accompaniments that will overshadow the delicate flavor. Many people will simply enjoy caviar on its own, taking small spoonfuls at a time. This technique pairs nicely with a glass of champagne. Serving caviar with toast points garnished with chives is a delicious way to present this delicacy.
Some people prefer to couple rich flavor of eating caviar with supportive flavors. We suggest pairing it with complementary flavors. Some standard options are topping caviar with dill, parsley, sour cream, chopped yellow or red onions, lemon wedges, hard-boiled eggs or crème fraiche.
For an authentic Russian experience, serve your caviar with blini. Blini is a traditional Russian thin pancake made of buckwheat flour. Wondering exactly how to eat caviar with blini? Spread a spoonful of caviar across the blini and top with a small dollop of sour cream before rolling it into a loose wrap. Russian pancakes are another way to enjoy this delicacy.
Is Caviar Etiquette Difficult?
A lot of caviar etiquette surrounds portioning. Caviar is a delicacy with a distinctive, vibrant flavor. A large serving is not needed to satisfy the palate. Serve caviar in small portions and as an appetizer. For guests, keep in mind that caviar is intended for sharing, and should be enjoyed by all. In a group, never take more than your equitable share. The general rule is that each individual shouldn't exceed two ounces of caviar to themselves, and eat that in small bites.
There is also a technique of eating caviar. Chewing caviar does not make the experience last, and in chewing most of the flavor can be lost. Instead, roll the roe along the tongue to experience the full impact of the rich, buttery and salty taste.
Is it Mother of Pearl Only, Or Are There Other Ways To Spoon Caviar?
Caviar spoons are usually constructed of mother of pearl, wood or gold. Traditionally, caviar is not served with metal cutlery to avoid undesirable metallic taste changes. So, never serve your caviar with a metal spoon. Even stainless steel is not recommended. Use utensils made of glass, porcelain, plastic, or natural bone to scoop and spread your caviar. Our favorite is the traditional mother of pearl spoon.
A Few Tips for Buying Caviar
When it comes to purchasing caviar, you want to make sure you do so correctly. Purchasing from small shops on the corner can be risky. If not stored correctly, caviar can spoil. Stores aren't always keen on throwing out spoiled products when it is so expensive to stock.
Conduct thorough research to ensure your supplier is providing a high-quality sustainable product. The vendor should be able to tell you exactly what type of caviar you're purchasing, and how it is sourced. Additionally, when purchasing caviar online, look for positive reviews from previous customers.
Is Imperia Caviar Sustainable?
Yes! At Imperia Caviar, clients receive the highest quality Grade A+ Kaluga Hybrid and Royal Ossetra caviar. Imperia Caviar is committed to sustainability and sources all of its caviar from its 100% eco-friendly farm. All our caviar is harvested by hand by expert workers. Please consider ordering online today. We make no secret about it, Imperia wants to be your family friend in the caviar business.