Caviar is fish roe or eggs that are lightly salted with non-iodized salt. As a matter of fact all female fish lay eggs, so they all have roe. However, not all fish roe is suitable to be caviar. Genuine caviar comes from only the sturgeon fish; beluga, osetra, sevruga, and starlet are considered the best. Classic caviar comes primarily from Iran or Russia, harvested by commercial fishermen working in the Caspian Sea. Tins of caviar must list the name of the fish first, unless it is definitely sturgeon roe.
Here’s an A to Z on one of the most famous dishes all around the world:
- Caviar is one of the oldest delicacies before raw oysters, before Champagne, before even truffles were deemed a delicacy; caviar was coveted by kings and the aristocracy. Ancient Greeks, Romans and Russian tsars were all known to splurge on caviar.
- Caviar should never be served on metal utensils — the sensitive "berries" (the proper name for roe) can develop a very off-putting metallic taste. Caviar spoons made from bone, mother of pear or tortoise shell and are sold in specialty shops for just such occasions.
- There are etiquette rules attached with caviar. When served on a small cracker or canapé, it should be eaten in one bite, but caviar served as an appetizer should be mixed with chopped egg whites and yolks and placed on toast points before eating.
- The most expensive is the exclusive variety called Almas, which in Russian means "diamond", and its price is almost as high as that of the precious gemstone. It is one of those items that are not for sale just anywhere. Few select Caviar House & Prunier stores, the only place in the world where it is available for sale. Its classic presentation makes a unique gift: it comes in a metal container bathed in 24-karat gold. The price? A kilo (2.2 lbs) can cost upwards of $ 25,000.
So, the next time you have Caviar, you would know exactly what you’re getting into.
- - Ms. Bindu Menon,
Senior Faculty, INLEAD