3 minutes read
Caviar, probably the most famous delicacy around the world (& most expensive). Eaten by few, want to be eaten by many.
Caviar can be eaten raw by putting a small spoon of it on the part between your thumb and index finger, or use it as a spread on a small piece of toast.
But what is caviar exactly? And what are those orange caviar-like eggs?
Caviar are salt-cured eggs that comes from the female sturgeon fish that lives in the Caspian & Black Sea. Beluga, Ossetra & Sevruga, you might have heard those names before, are sturgeon species heavily fished for their valuable eggs.
The rarest & most expensive of all. Recognizable by it’s thick body & lengthy nose, the Beluga sturgeon swims in the Caspian Sea & Black Sea, which is bordered by Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan & Azerbaijan. Compared to the other Caviar below, the eggs are larger & softer. The eggs can range in colour from pale silver-gray to black. The Beluga sturgeon can live for up to 120 years & eats mainly other fish species. Beluga Caviar has a mild & buttery flavour. Per 100gram +- £200,-.
Next in quality is the medium-sized with a short nose Ossetra sturgeon, that produces light brown to brown eggs also known as Russian Caviar. The Ossetra sturgeon lives in the Caspian Sea & can get 50 years old. The eggs are smaller & firmer than the Beluga Caviar. Ossetra Caviar has a firmer texture & nutty flavour. Per 100gram +- £120,-.
The Sevruga sturgeon swims in the Caspian Sea & produces small dark grey eggs. Recognizable by a slimmer body than the Beluga sturgeon, but with a lengthy nose too, it can live up to 7 years. A lot less longer to mature, so these are the most commercial (& cheapest) of them all. Sevruga Caviar is very flavourful. Per 100gram +- £90,-.
Caviar is so expensive, because it takes several years the sturgeon to grow. Removing the eggs from the ovaries is done by hand. Then the eggs are separated from the membrane by using a sieve & gently flowing cold water so it won’t break the eggs. Once the eggs are separated, they are ready to be salted & tinned. As you can see lots of man hours & a time consuming job.
The world’s largest producer of Caviar is Iran, followed by Russia. China, with help from Iranian expertise is now producing farmed caviar too. You also see production of Caviar in Israel, Italy, Saudi-Arabia, Spain, USA & Canada.
Often you see orange Caviar-like eggs as a garnish or as spread. These are Salmon eggs & are called Salmon Roe (roe are multiple eggs together from the ovaries) or Salmon Fish Eggs. You can also come across other fish eggs species like: Cod, Lumpsucker, Burbot or other whitefish. There are even seaweed version for the vegans out there!