High-quality caviar has a rich, buttery taste that is perfect as both an appetizer or meal. However, not all caviar is the same. While traditional caviar comes from the wild sturgeon fish native to the Black and Caspian Seas of Russia, today, it's produced all over the world. With a growing selection of caviar to choose from, how do you choose the best caviar? Below are a few professional tips to help you when selecting this delicacy.
How Is Caviar Graded?
Caviar is graded based on factors such as egg size, color, and maturity. Premium caviar is often referred to as "black caviar" and refers to caviar that is brown, black, grey, or gold. It’s important to note that only fish eggs from fish that are sturgeon species can be called caviar — all other fish eggs are called roe.
Beluga vs. Osetra vs. Sevruga
Sturgeon caviar is undoubtedly the best in the world, due in part to its rarity. While Beluga (Huso Huso) is considered to be the highest grade of caviar, the species is considered endangered, which means it's not available for sale in the U.S. Instead, Beluga Hybrid has become a popular selection, which is the result of crossbreeding Beluga sturgeon and Siberian Sturgeon fish.
If you're after exclusivity and flavor, then you should consider Osetra (also spelled Ossetra) caviar. This sturgeon caviar is known for its notes of butter and nuts, and is considered one of the best caviars in the world.
Sevruga is the smallest of the sturgeon caviar, but it's packed with rich flavor. Sevruga caviar is more readily available on the market due to quick reproduction amongst this species. Sevruga caviar has a crunchy texture, giving it a unique taste that differentiates it from other sturgeon caviar.
Kaluga: The Beluga Alternative
Kaluga caviar is often called "River Beluga" and has risen in popularity because Beluga is not allowed to be sold in the United States. The flavors of Kaluga caviar are decadent, and the medium to large eggs are produced by the world's largest freshwater sturgeon. Kaluga allows for sustainable consumption without missing out on taste.
The Best American Caviar
American Paddlefish caviar is smooth and buttery and is often considered a great alternative to more expensive, imported Sturgeon caviars. Clear and glossy, paddlefish eggs are farm-raised. Earthy and bold, paddlefish is an excellent and more affordable alternative to sturgeon caviar.
Determine Your Taste Preferences
The best caviar is not just dependent on the price tag, but also on your personal taste preference. For instance, while all caviar is salted, caviar that is labeled Malossol will contain less salt. Malossol is often considered one of the best types of caviars; however, it has a shorter shelf life due to its lack of salt. If you're looking to consume your caviar soon after its arrival, then Malossol caviar is a great option.
Caviar is always a good idea! Just make sure to check for specific characteristics which can help to guarantee the flavor and freshness. At Kolikof Caviar & Gourmet, we offer a range of premium caviar for every palette. Check out our collection of caviar and place your order today!