“The roe of the Russian mother sturgeon has probably been present at more important international affairs than have all the Russian dignitaries of history combined. This seemingly simple article of diet has taken its place in the world along with pearls, sables, old silver, and Cellini cups.” – by James Beard
Due to the limited inventory of Iranian caviar because of the importation ban on Iran, Kaluga caviar would be your best alternative. Kaluga Caviar is the closest you can get to Beluga caviar because it is genetically identical to the caviar from the sturgeon found in Russia. .The Kaluga Caviar mimics Beluga in size of egg, color and taste. It is from the Huso Dauricus sturgeon and comes from the farmed breeding plant in the “Hubei Province” of China.The largest grain and most delicate in flavor of sturgeon eggs, Kaluga caviar. There are also American caviars which are every bit as good as the Russian caviar. As of January 2006, the United Nations banned export of beluga sturgeon caviar from the Caspian Sea region, because they became an endangered species. American caviars such as Kaluga caviar are genetically identical to the Russian beluga sturgeon and just as good.
Technically speaking caviar is the eggs or roe of only one fish, the sturgeon everything else called “caviar” it fish roe. Many people refer to these other varieties of fish roe as caviar even when they are technically not. The point is that fish eggs which are also known as roe are all fish eggs no matter which fish they came from. If your goal is to impress your friends with your knowledge of caviar then you can point out that only sturgeon roe is called caviar and everything else is fish roe. For the rest of us we will embrace and welcome all types of fish roe to the world of caviar.
It is funny to think back to the time of the early settlers in North America and see what was considered a food for the commoners later became delicacies. History wasn’t kind to caviar or lobster. Both lobster and caviar were the junk foods of the times and fed to slaves. Lobsters that weren’t given to slaves were fed to the poor or planted in the ground as fertilizer. In Colonial times the slaves even protested because they were being fed lobsters too often. Early settlers wouldn’t eat the caviar that the native Americans enjoyed.
The word khavyar is the origin of the word caviar. In the Middle Eastern and parts of Europe sturgeon has been around all through recorded history and a part of the diet. Caviar was once a food that would only be served to kings and queens. It is amusing to note that in the United States caviar didn’t have such a royal background. Today if we go to a bar we might be given a bowl of peanuts or other salty snacks to encourage us to drink more. There was a time when caviar was so plentiful and cheap that it was given away at bars because the saltiness of the caviar encouraged people to drink more.
Later in American history caviar was a source of food for the gold miners in the California gold rush. In the United States a German immigrant began sturgeon fishing in the Delaware river and began salting the caviar and shipping much of it to Europe where it was a much more respectable food and not something to be given away in bars. In the early 1900’s the USA was the largest producer of caviar in the world. Trainloads of caviar were being packages and most would find its way to Europe. As time when by the American’s finally figured out why most of Europe loved our caviar so much.
The idea of using a spoon made of bone to eat or serve caviar is not intended to help you look pretentious; it actually serves a purpose. Caviar is very sensitive to the metal in a regular spoon and will react to that metal. You will ruin the taste of caviar if you serve it with a metal spoon. Many companies sell caviar accessories for this purpose.
In our caviar recipes we will add caviar on top of something or at the end of a recipe; we don’t cook caviar as that would destroy the delicate flavor.
Today many types of caviar are common and much less expensive than the sturgeon caviar. We use paddlefish, salmon, bowfin and hackelback sturgeon roe as caviar. Caviar or flying fish roe is commonly seen on sushi, Those little orange and green dots on your sushi are flying fish roe which also is known as Tobiko caviar. Now you can serve caviar without spending your entire paycheck!
Caviar will stay good in your refrigerator for up to three weeks but once it has been opened it should be eaten within two or three days. Never put caviar in the freezer; some people do but it is not recommended. If you buy caviar online get only enough to use right away. Caviar is not something you would buy to keep for some day when it might be needed. Have a plan on what you are going to do with your caviar and buy it just before it is needed. For example you can make a holiday such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day an even more special occasion with caviar. Try a caviar recipe for an anniversary to remember or for a business success you want to celebrate with your team.
Not long ago a very popular grocery store known for selling higher quality foods was found to have fake caviar. The caviar is made from the yoke of hard boiled eggs shaped into tiny balls. The yellow balls are made black with squid ink which also adds a fishy taste. The fake caviar is more commonly made with apple pectin, sea urchin extract, oyster, scallop and a gum derived from kelp and of course squid ink for the proper coloring. The fake caviar is actually popular as a substitute in some parts of the world. The problem of course is that you can remove the labels, put on new labels and call it real caviar and plenty of people won’t know the difference. Fake caviar sells for a fraction of the cost of real caviar and has a thicker and more gummy skin than real caviar. In the case of the grocery store selling fake caviar, the store had no idea the “caviar” they were selling was fake. Buy your caviar from a reliable source to insure freshness, great taste and most importantly that it is actually caviar.