Synonymous with luxury, and regarded as the Rolls-Royce of ingredients, Caviar is both prized and misunderstood. Because it’s so expensive, people don’t want to waste it but they also frequently don’t know how to choose or serve it properly. Caviar, on the other hand, is ideal for a variety of party occasions, including New Year’s Eve, an intimate Valentine’s Day, or a weekend champagne brunch. If you’ve ever wondered how to choose and eat caviar, or if you’re looking for caviar serving ideas, this post is for you.
What Is Caviar?
Caviar is unfertilized eggs, spherical with color from black to deep khaki green depending on the specific variety. Caviar is primarily derived from three species of sturgeon: Beluga, Sevruga, and Osstreta. If the eggs are not from a Sturgeon, such as the bright orange salmon roe, they are not caviar, they are roe, the generic name for fish eggs. Only Sturgeon roe is classified as Caviar.
What Does Caviar Taste like?
It is difficult to describe the flavor of Caviar. ‘It tastes like ocean water,’ are the words that best describe its flavor. However, you should be aware that the flavor of Caviar is determined by its quality. Real Caviar has a lovely texture, is smooth but firm, and lacks excess fat and salt. The sockets must roll on your tongue and slide down your palate. Each egg is unique, but when you bite into one, authentic caviar has a famous “Caspian pop” which occurs when the roe bursts on the palate and an explosion of flavors are released, each with a unique flavor. Each small bite can contain up to 15 different flavor experiences. Some say caviar tastes like salt and fresh fish, while others say it’s nutty, richer than oysters, and has a distinct bouquet.
Caviar is an extremely time-consuming process
Sturgeons need between 8 and 20 years to reach sexual maturity. The eggs are extracted from the fish just before they hatch. They are then washed, screened, salted, and tinned in an elaborate process. Then there is a grading system in place. Grade 1 caviar is more expensive and consists of firm, uniform, and intact beads. Grade 2 caviar has fewer perfectly formed eggs and is less expensive. Heat can be used to treat grade 2 caviar. Pasteurization extends the shelf life of caviar but alters its texture and flavor. As a result, unpasteurized caviar is preferred by food enthusiasts.
What Are the Various Types of Caviar?
The three sturgeon species that made caviar famous were Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga. Beluga was always considered the best because of its rarity and size, experts say, followed by Osetra and Sevruga. Other caviar-producing sturgeons include the Pacific sturgeon and the Siberian sturgeon. But today numerous hybrids are being developed, including beluga X Siberian, Chinese hybrid (dauricus X schrenki), and osetra X beluga, to name a few.
Where Is Caviar Produced?
Just as “champagne” can only be called champagne if it comes from a specific region of France, caviar used to have to come from the Caspian Sea and/or the Black Sea. Many sturgeons are now farm-raised to be more environmentally conscious. As a result, new countries have emerged on the caviar scene, and the majority of the world’s caviar is farmed across the globe, from China to the Middle East to Madagascar.
How to choose caviar
According to experts, the location is less important than how the Caviar is produced. The most reliable places to buy caviar are not countries, but reputable farms, and you must pay close attention to the caviar’s provenance, production, handling, and storage. Also, watch out for words like “imported” and “Russian,” as almost no caviar legally comes from Russia anymore, and they can be used on the label to mislead consumers.
Do farm and wild caviar have distinct flavors?
The main distinction is one of taste. The diet and environment of a fish greatly influence the flavor of the caviar it produces—how briny, rich, or buttery it is. Because wild fish eat an eclectic and varied diet, their roe has a more complex flavor. Farmed Sturgeon, on the other hand, have a controlled diet, resulting in consistent quality and taste.
Does Price Matter with Caviar?
The price of caviar has dropped significantly as a result of the influx of farmed Sturgeon. In general, an ounce of premium caviar will cost you around $100.
What Are the Tell-Tale Signs of Good and Bad Caviar?
Mitchell and acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud devised “The Three Ts” grading system for Caviar more than 20 years ago. It stands for Taste, which means there should be no bitter, salty, or unpleasant flavors; Texture, which means the eggs should be firm enough to separate with your tongue and pop when pushed to the roof of your mouth; and Tone, which means they should be a clean color with a nice glisten. A good caviar should be salinity-free, have a rich buttery flavor, and leave no aftertaste.
How To Store And Chill Caviar Before Serving It
Keep Caviar in the coldest part of your fridge, usually at the bottom, at temperatures between 34 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Unopened tins of caviar can be kept for three weeks. When a tin of caviar is opened and the contents are exposed to air, the shelf life is drastically reduced to 2 or 3 days at temperatures ranging from 0 to 5 degrees Celsius. However, because caviar becomes saltier with age, it is best to consume it fresh.
How Should You Serve and Eat Caviar?
Fine caviar should be served alone (chilled, but not frozen) and placed in a non-metal bowl, which should then be topped with crushed ice. It is important to not use silver or other metal utensils or serving dishes because these oxidize. The result? Your delectable caviar may have an unpleasant metallic flavor. As a result, when selecting serving pieces, always go for glass, bone, or mother pearl.
To serve Caviar with style, make sure you have enough caviar for your guests. The proper serving size per guest is half to one ounce. Because of the number of people attending your party, caviar will most likely be served as an appetizer. If you’re wondering how to eat caviar, you should know that eating large amounts of caviar is usually frowned upon. Smaller bites ensure more intense flavors.
Good quality caviar doesn’t need too much to be enhanced. Purists will simply dollop caviar on the back of the hand or pile the roe high atop a warm blini along with a smattering of crème fraîche. Others prefer a dollop of Caviar on buttered or dry toast, crackers, or white bread as the toast adds an extra crunch as the fish eggs pop on your tongue.
What are the best drinks to pair with Caviar?
Caviar is associated with celebration, so the best way to serve it is with Champagne and/or vodka. A high-quality vodka served straight and chilled is ideal for ‘vodka with caviar’, a Russian tradition. Citrus complements the saltiness of caviar, so try adding a lemon wedge to the drink.
Nothing complements the ocean saltiness of caviar like a glass of champagne. It’s almost as if they were made for each other. Serve a glass of brut champagne in an elegant flute, having first chilled the champagne over ice.
These two are classics, but if you want a beer or wine, try a Porter or Amber Ale or a dry white wine.
Where to find Caviar in Vietnam?