If you are thinking about elevating your culinary experiences and perhaps starting to eat like royalty, look no further than caviar. A world-renowned delicacy, caviar is a type of roe (fish eggs). Caviar is always identified by the fish from which it came.
One of the most prestigious and traditional caviar originates from the Acipenser Gueldenstaedtii, a Russian sturgeon fish found in the Caspian Sea. For centuries, the highest grade caviar on the market came from just three kinds of sturgeon Beluga, Osetra sturgeon, and Sevruga.
Today, sturgeon caviar is farmed and harvested around the world from California to France and Russia. The intricacies of caviar may seem complex at first, but do not worry. We are happy to introduce you to the world of caviar through a worldwide classic — Osetra Caviar. It is, in equal parts, fancy, tasty, affordable, authentic, and incomparable!
WHY SO SERIOUS?
Bluntly, all fish eggs are not created equal. Only sturgeon fish eggs are recognized as “true” caviar. While the roe of other fish (such as salmon, trout, and flying fish) can be harvested for human consumption, brands selling non-sturgeon fish legally must be labeled accordingly.
In this way, a tin containing salmon roe must read “salmon roe” or “salmon caviar” and can not be labeled just “caviar.” This means the red, salmon-based caviar atop your salmon roll at the local sushi joint is not caviar at all. This is no small matter as the imitators are only a taste shadow of the real thing's delicious offerings.
You may wonder why classifying caviar is important. As consumption increases, sturgeon species everywhere are threatened by overfishing, pollution, and natural habitat destruction. In addition to simple scarcity, female sturgeons require several years to reach maturity and begin producing eggs. That means that production capacity is limited by the sturgeon natural lifecycle. Decades of fishing have made high-quality caviar hard to find
Habitat and lifecycle restrictions do not pose the same problem in other fish species. This pushes the market to a number of “caviar” alternatives. Nevertheless, because of quality and taste, among other factors, distinguishing high-quality caviar from imposters is critical.
Imperia Caviar believes caviar should be an affordable luxury for everyone to enjoy. Our ethos is to work harmoniously with nature without causing harm to the environment or sturgeon wellbeing. This commitment means we deliver top-tier quality hand-sorted sturgeon eggs sourced from sustainable, eco-friendly farms at rational consumer-friendly prices.
Our sturgeon grow in a nearly wild, freshwater environment. Imperia Caviar farms encourage our fish to breed normally. We never use hormonal manipulations to wrongfully induce sturgeon breeding.
In other words, Imperia Caviar does more than delivering high-quality caviar to your table. We are active leaders advancing the sustainable availability of one of the world’s most elegant dishes without punishing the environment or consumers.
WHAT TYPES OF CAVIAR ARE THERE?
There are many different types of caviar. They vary in availability, price, and flavor. Each has a unique color and taste. Some are Caspian caviar from the Caspian sea, while others are sourced much closer to home. From buttery to nutty, you can find what you are looking for.
Here are just five of the most popular caviar's you should know about.
Osetra is also known as ossetra caviar, oscietra, or asetra. It is considered to be one of the finer caviars on the planet, and some believe it to be the best caviar in the world. Eggs from ossetra sturgeon vary in color from golden to brown and are known for being paired with pasta, poultry, and/or seafood.
There are many subcategories of Osetra caviar, such as Caspian Osetra, Iranian Osetra (Acipenser persicus), and Russian Osetra (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii).
Kaluga is known as “river beluga” because it comes from the Amur River basin. It is understood as very similar in texture and flavor to Beluga. Kaluga’s taste is most often described as buttery, making it perfect to enjoy alone or with company.
Beluga is known to be the most high-end, luxurious caviar on the market. The flavoring of the caviar is buttery, smooth, and rich, just like Kaluga caviar. Importantly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned the importation of authentic beluga caviar to the United States in 2005 to protect these sturgeon.
Shassetra is known to be the choice of many culinary enthusiasts. It is perfectly paired with meats, fish, sauces, and pasta. The flavor of Shassetra is described as being briny and brilliant. When you try it, you may also notice flavorful hints of dried fruit and grains.
Almas is thought of as one of the most luxurious caviars in the world. Almas is white in color with a smooth texture. It is known to have a distinct nutty and creamy flavor.
Other popular types of caviar include Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser Baerii),
WHAT DOES CAVIAR TASTE LIKE?
The general taste of caviar depends on the type of sturgeon producing it, where they live, and other complicated environmental and genetic factors. Is it Russian Osetra Caviar, or did it arise from a Siberian sturgeon?
Such factors play a huge role in the flavor and texture of caviar. Caviar can range from green, ginger, to brown and silver. This affordable delicacy is mostly described as having a buttery or nutty flavor. Some caviar can even be fruity and others creamy.
WHAT IS OSETRA CAVIAR?
Originally found in the Caspian Sea, Osetra is one of the three key species of sturgeon fish from which one of the best caviar is traditionally harvested. It is also one of the most valued and admired types of caviar, along with Beluga and Sevruga caviar. The name “ossetra” comes from the Russian word for sturgeon, осётр.
Generally, when attempting to describe the nuanced flavors of caviar, using words such as salty, briny, or salt-cured fishy simply does not do the delicacy justice.
Osetra Caviar is said to have the most variety in terms of flavor, size, and color, as the taste of the eggs depends heavily on the environment in which the fish feeds.
Osetra is known for having a nutty, almost creamy walnut taste and a pleasing burst that shares the bold flavors of the sea.
The eggs usually range in color from black to dark brown with flecks of gold or even white on rare occasions. While Osetra caviar comes in two grades depending on uniformity, size, color, clarity, tenderness, and fragrance, Imperia Caviar supplies only top-tier Grade 1.
HOW TO SERVE CAVIAR
Caviar is the perfect way to add a dash of luxury to a romantic dinner you might be preparing for your partner or for impressing guests with an exciting gourmet option on your charcuterie board.
Though caviar is often eaten raw as an appetizer along with eggs, salads, oysters, fresh seafood dishes, minced onion, and bread with butter, you can also include caviar in delicious recipes for cooked dishes such as pasta or baked potatoes.
Many find caviar is the perfect addition to blini (miniature Russian pancakes) then topped with creme fraiche. Don't serve caviar with something heavy, like steaks. You want to highlight the unparalleled consistency of the caviar itself.
The first step to serve caviar is to find an Osetra caviar that suits your needs. Caviar is often sold in 50-gram tins, which suffices for two to three people if served alone. If you are serving caviar with other foods, please consider presenting less, perhaps only a few grams per person, depending on the complementing foods.
You will also want to be careful about timing. Caviar is best served fresh, so make sure to obtain your caviar not more than three to four days before the expected presentation.
When you are ready to share, make sure the caviar is presented chilled in a small glass bowl and on an ice bar to preserve freshness. Be sure to use a mother of pearl, bone, plastic, or wooden utensils when manipulating the caviar, as well. Metal, including silver or golden spoons, are known for interfering with the delicate flavor profiles of the caviar.
HOW DO I GET CAVIAR?
If you are thinking about purchasing caviar locally, you could easily come up empty-handed. Even worse and with the best intentions, you could find caviar-posing roe fake-caviar and take it home. So, while it may not be intuitive that ordering at a distance is best, after considering freshness, distance from supply, choice, and other related factors, local is simply not the ideal choice.
Ordering your caviar from a reputable source online is the best way to ensure direct-to-consumer top quality, world-caliber flavor without the added cost of a middleman-seller or the ambiguities of questionable freshness.
Imperia Caviar offers you both Royal Osetra and Kaluga Hybrid Reserve. Our Royal Osetra is available in multiple sizing options, including 100 grams, 250 grams, and 1680 grams, or smaller packages of 5 tins with 30 grams each or three tins with 50 grams each. Royal Osetra also comes in caviar gift sets so you can share this exciting experience of culinary excellence with friends and family.
Complete with a gift bag containing a tin of Royal Osetra Caviar, a tin opener, and a mother of pearl spoon, gift sets come in 50 gram and 30-gram options ranging in quantity from three to 15 sets and in between.
Kaluga Hybrid Reserve is a union between the Kaluga and Shassetra sturgeons, provides for a deep and shimmery amber and jade-like colored egg and a floral, fruity flavor. This caviar also has multiple sizes and gift set options.
So, now that you’ve been introduced to Osetra, you should know that eating like a Russian oligarch does not mean you have to spend like a tzar!
Imperia Caviar was founded to deliver top-quality, flavorful caviars at affordable prices. We are dedicated to delivering top-quality caviar directly from our farms to your table at a fraction of the typical cost. Please give it a try!