Elegance, craftsmanship, and timeless beauty…. these are all words that can describe just about anything from a rare sports car to an opera. Although it might surprise you, these are also words that could easily describe the rarest of all seafood, called caviar. There is no question that authentic caviar is definitely an experience to say the least. If you are new to the caviar world, there are a number of things you need to know about this delicacy and why it is so exclusive.
The Expense of Caviar
First of all, let us address the elephant in the room: why is caviar so expensive? Before we answer that question you need to realize that just like everything else there are a lot of knock-offs from the original thing. In the case of caviar, it is fish eggs. However, caviar isn’t just any fish eggs. It has to be the roe of either the Beluga, Siberian, Oscietra or the Sevruga sturgeon fish, and historically this caviar was harvested from the Black or Caspian Seas. Nowadays production of caviar has been shifted to sturgeon farms across the globe.
Thus, one of the first reasons why caviar is so expensive is simple. Apparently, all these types of sturgeon used for extracting caviar are endangered species. Moreover, they are a very picky breed that demands the conditions to be just right so they can reproduce and lay their eggs. On top of that, it takes them a long time to even grow to the required level of maturity to be able to lay those eggs in the first place. Generally, the older the fish is, the more expensive the caviar will be. Also, anything that sacrifices taste will be less expensive, so in this case unpasteurized caviar is more premium than the pasteurized caviar.
Our next point of focus is shopping for caviar. If you are in the market for this delicacy, go to a trusted seller. First of all, expect your seller to be able to provide you with a thorough chain of custody for the caviar. He should be able to tell you where the caviar was at every step of the way from the farm to the consumer’s hands. Good caviar will have appropriate labeling including the species, the original country and the year of harvest. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is the organization responsible for regulating the trade of caviar.
Of course, there will be times where caviar is sold not necessarily having this thorough information on the package. In that case, don’t fret. Simply ask the seller if he or she has CITES documentation for the caviar in question. Simply put, if they are worth their salt, they will. If they do not, it might be a good idea to purchase your caviar elsewhere.
Storage of Your Caviar
Besides being a bought selectively, caviar also has to be stored properly. An unopened tin of caviar must be stored at between 28 F to 32 F and will be good for up to a month. An opened tin of caviar will need to be consumed within two days.
Serving Your Caviar
The best way to serve caviar is by not messing with its shape or form. Serve the delicacy in its original tin with blinis and toast points. Several side dishes can be put into use, including creme fraiche, a hard-boiled egg, or chives. A highly savoured caviar is the “malossol” which is Russian for “low in salt.” It is also important to ensure you avoid serving your caviar with a silver spoon. This is because the silver in the spoon will tarnish when it comes in contact with the caviar and will negatively affect the taste.
Matching Wines with Caviar
Finally, caviar should also be matched with a good glass of wine to wash it down! Although champagne is often a good choice for the best caviar, the experts recommend literally any dry blend of alcohol.
These tips will definitely help you to serve the best caviar and not sacrifice quality at the same time!