It is said that one cannot truly appreciate caviar without vodka. As Russian traditions go, caviar is best appreciated with a glass of vodka in hand. With that said, it is imperative that only ice-cold vodka is best served with it as the vodka has a subtle flavour that complements the saltines coming with the caviar without overpowering the delicacy. Choosing the caviar is another matter as well. To find the perfect caviar, consider the following. (Photo Credit: Caroline on Crack/Flickr)
Some features of the caviar can readily influence the price of caviar sold in the market. Here are some of them:
- Size. Caviar size indicates the type of sturgeon or fish that the roe is collected from. As each roe size corresponds to a particular fish variety, one can be assured of whether the fish eggs are mature when harvested. Beluga sturgeons have bigger sized roes where ossetra sturgeons have smaller roe.
- Color. Each fish roe colour depends on where the caviar is gathered. Beluga caviar, for example, ranges from pale to silver-gray to black depending on the age of the sturgeon.Ossetra roe, however, has the color of gray to brownish and the imperial caviar has orange to golden in colour.
- Maturity. As caviar’s taste depends on the age of the sturgeon, the older the sturgeon, the more expensive the caviar is. Beluga sturgeon takes about 20 years for it to mature and to be capable of producing eggs. Other sturgeons like the sevruga takes about 15-20 years to mature.
- Texture. Good caviar possesses a fresh sea scent to it, has a shiny coat and has good quality grains to it. Top quality caviar should be able to withstand the sieving process but is delicate enough to melt when eaten.
Types of Caviar
Another factor that affects the price of this delicacy is the type of caviar that one wants to buy. All of the caviar varieties are colour coded to make sure that consumers are not mistaken in their purchase of their caviar needs. One would normally see blue, yellow tin cans which corresponds to the type of the fish that the roe was harvested from.
There are online stores that categorized their caviar so online shoppers can readily check the item that they want.
Depending on variety, there are four major Russian caviar in the market today – Beluga, Ossetra, Sterlet and Sevruga. Beluga is the rarest and most expensive of the caviar as the sturgeon takes a longer period to mature and develop their eggs. A fishing restriction is also implemented by the government wherein only 100 beluga sturgeons allowed to be fished in the Caspian Sea to ensure that the species will survive. (Photo Credit: sparktography/Flickr)
Sterlet variety is reserved for the Imperial family and as such, prohibited and banned for local people to eat the roe of this sturgeon variety. The popular caviar sold today come from the ossetra and the sevruga sturgeon.
The sturgeon varieties are more abundant and take a shorter time to produce the said caviar.
The demand for caviar, however, resulted to sturgeon farms not only in Russia but also in other countries such as America, Iran and Azerbaijan. One can readily see caviar made from American milkfish, paddlefish as well as bowfins in the market. The taste and texture of the American variety is almost of the same quality but is much more affordable than the Russian caviar.
Nowadays purchasing one’s caviar is more accessible with online shops that sell caviar and other gourmet products online. The online gourmet store guarantees 24 hour shipping which is a must to maintain the delicate flavor of the caviar and also reliable shipping companies making the caviar a timely hors d’oeuvres to just about any event halfway around the globe. (Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer/Flickr)
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