Caviar is one of the most luxurious and coveted delicacies found across the globe that will take your taste buds on a journey to the ocean with every mouth-watering bite. At first glance, you might scratch your head trying to figure out why something like premium or true caviar can sell up to $35,000 per kilo making it the most expensive food items in the world, but when you delve into the history of this exquisite treat, you will quickly understand why!
What is Caviar?
Simply put, caviar is lightly salted fish eggs, or roe and is a divine indulgence that is enjoyed by enthusiasts all around the world. Just like how true champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France, true caviar only comes from the roe of one fish: sturgeon.
There are 27 different species of sturgeon that come from the Acipenseridae family. These large fish are found mainly in the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, the South Atlantic regions of North America, parts of the Pacific Northwest and in large rivers and lakes throughout Europe. Although there are many species of sturgeon, not all sturgeon eggs are created equal. The best quality caviar comes from the roe of four types of sturgeon: Beluga, Kaluga, Osetra, and Sevruga.
Roe that comes from the Beluga sturgeon has traditionally been considered the most exquisite, but due to overfishing, this sturgeon is on the critically endangered list. The importation of Beluga caviar to the US is illegal. The roe that is most similar to the unique taste of Beluga caviar comes from the Kaluga sturgeon.
Also known as the “River Beluga”, the decadent flavor of roe that comes from the Kaluga sturgeon is one of the world’s most sought-after gourmet foods available today! The Kaluga is considered to be the world’s largest sturgeon and is a predatory fish found in the Amur River basin. This fish is capable of growing to sizes over 18 feet long, weighing more than 2,000 pounds.
A female Kaluga can produce up to 44 pounds of delicious caviar! In appearance, the medium to large eggs range in color from a glossy jaded bright bronze to a dark brown. The texture of the Kaluga roe is smooth and firm with a buttery, earthy flavor, and a mildly salty overtone.
What do you serve it with?
When you are experiencing Kaluga caviar, you will want to make sure you keep it chilled in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Since the roe is extremely fragile, it is best not to try and remove the eggs from the tin to transfer it to another serving dish because you will risk breaking them. Traditionally, it is served in the container on a chilled plate or on ice. You will want to make sure you serve this decadent luxury with a mother-of-pearl spoon, so your caviar does not absorb any of the metallic flavor from your silverware.
Kaluga caviar is a special treat that many enjoy as is, savoring each bite from every spoonful. If you want to get fancy with it, you can serve Kaluga caviar with lightly buttered or dry toasts, unsalted crackers, or bread. You can also serve your caviar with some great traditional garnishes to enhance the flavor as well such as sour cream, crème fraiche, lemon wedges, chives, and onion.
If you are new to caviar, we highly recommend trying it on its own before adding any garnishes. This way you can experience the true flavor of this highly sought-after roe as is. When you take your first bite, roll the roe alongside your tongue to really experience the full impact of this salty buttery treat!