A taste and texture unlike any other, caviar is a luxury from the sea. While you may have seen caviar in elegant films or on coastal menus, you may be wondering, what is caviar? Caviar is a type of roe. Roe is a word for fish eggs - the most delicious, interesting and elegant fish eggs on Earth.
Caviar is commonly served in a dish on top of a bed of crushed ice, along with a mother-of-pearl spoon. Do not use metal serving spoons, as they will damage the taste. A traditional way to serve caviar is to let people dish out caviar themselves from a platter onto blini or toast points with other toppings such as onion, chives, and crème fraiche.
You might be curious though, what does caviar taste like? Eating caviar is a unique food experience. There are different types of caviar, each with differences in appearance, taste and texture. Nevertheless, all caviar has a few common characteristics. For example, the first flavor wave is salty, briny, with a slightly fish-like taste, followed by a short idling taste. The second flavor wave expressed a few seconds after the first, transitions into a smooth, bright, or nutty lingering flavor.
As for texture, the skin of the roe has slight resistance, some more than others. It often produces a bursting sensation in the mouth when rolling the caviar over your tongue. Of course, your teeth do not have taste buds, so we suggest experiencing our caviar like a fine wine, take in the aromas and appreciate the taste and texture as you roll it over your tongue.
Are There Any Health Benefits?
Caviar is a natural delicacy packed with so many goodies that it is reasonably considered a “vitamin bomb.” Along with vitamins B12, B5, B1, D, and A, this unique foodstuff is packed with nearly enough protein in one serving (25 grams) to provide for the body’s RDA daily protein requirement! Particularly important is the high Omega-3 fish oil content. These are healthy fatty acids proven helpful for heart health, restoring normal function in stress and even contributing to shinier hair. And, if you are counting calories, there are approximately 40 calories per tablespoon with a nearly 1:3 fat to protein ratio.
How to Grade Caviar
Caviar is divided into two grades, determined by professionals trained to assign quality scores. Factors for grading include egg color, size, clarity, taste, aroma, and firmness. Grade 1 (A Grade) caviar includes the firmest, largest, most intact eggs with a fine color and flavor. Grade 2 (B Grade) caviar, can be tasty or decadent, and consists of less delicate and uniform formed eggs. Imperia Caviar believes in providing the most beautifully cured caviar and maintains the strictest standard by selling only Grade 1 caviar products.
A Little Bit of History
Black caviar has historically been a status symbol fit for kings. For the longest time, caviar from the Caspian Sea, which includes the Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga sturgeon, were the only accepted type of caviar. Today, the definition of caviar has expanded to include regions in Bulgaria, France, California, and even Uruguay.
The unqualified word caviar may only applied to the special method (salting) of sturgeon roe. Only sturgeon eggs prepared in this manner can be labeled caviar.
Fish roe in the United States has not always been an expensive delicacy. The American caviar industry began in 1873 when Henry Schacht, a German immigrant, opened up a business catching sturgeon on the Delaware River. Around the same time, the west coast was also harvesting sturgeon roe from the Columbia River.
By the turn of the 20th century, caviar had become so common in America that it was served gratuitously in saloons to encourage thirsty drinkers. At the time, Hudson River sturgeon were so plentiful that it was colloquially referred to as ‘Albany beef’.” However, by 1998 sturgeon were no longer plentiful on America’s northeastern coastline.
East coast states jointly enacted a 40-year moratorium on sturgeon fishing. Today, caviar consumers can enjoy sturgeon roe harvested from sustainable, eco-friendly sturgeon farming grown in nearly-wild farm environments. Imperia Caviar is committed to high-quality caviar obtained in harmony with nature and delivered at affordable prices.
Kinds of Caviar
True caviar derives from four types of sturgeon fish: The Beluga, the Osetra, the Sterlet, and the Sevruga. Of these four, Beluga has traditionally been considered most exquisite. Almas caviar, which is a rare form of Iranian Beluga produced from albino sturgeon between 60-100 years old swimming only in the southern Caspian Sea, holds the Guinness World Record for most expensive caviar. It sells for $34,500 per kilogram!
With a soft, clear, and glossy façade ranging in color from light silver-gray to black, Beluga is particularly thought of as creamy. It is found primarily in the Caspian Sea between Russia and Iran but is no longer legal to import into the United States. Osetra sturgeon eggs are medium-sized firm grains that vary in color from golden to brown. They have a rich, nutty flavor. Sevruga has smaller eggs than Beluga or Osetra but is more abundant.
Sevruga ranges from light gray to black and offers a buttery taste similar to Beluga, perhaps happily complicated by intense tastes of the ocean. Sterlet caviar is smaller than Sevruga, appears light to dark grey, and is also known for an intense flavor. Finally, Kaluga caviar, known colloquially as “river Beluga” is particularly similar to Beluga. They both have a creamy, smooth, buttery texture with a firm bursting sensation, making it one of our favorites!
How Can I Get Caviar?
Many people shy away from trying caviar because they think of it as exclusive and costly, a splurge to only be tried once in a blue moon. While it is true that the expense and availability of caviar are governed by supply and demand relationships, Imperia Caviar is at the forefront of a progressive culinary movement to make food luxuries accessible, ethical and affordable. From our point of view, caviar can be a modern delicious stable foodstuff enjoyed by many. Welcome to the family!