Everybody hears the word caviar and they automatically have flashes of cocktail parties, big events and tiny golden eggs. How is caviar actually popular? Who eats it? How often?
In medieval Russia, the peasants living by the rivers of the Caspian basin fished and ate sturgeon roe. Sturgeon is the fish whose eggs (a.k.a. roe) are used as caviar. They are only lightly salted so that they don’t spoil immediately. Russian Czars and Mongol khans discovered the refined taste of caviar and started indulging on it on a daily basis. It was not until the middle of 19th century that caviar spread throughout Europe.
The aristocracy across Europe quickly accepted caviar as a fancy trademark of their majestic events. This took place at the end of the 19th century as that was the time when sturgeon supply started diminishing. On the other side of the globe, in the U.S., people used to eat caviar almost for free. It was so abundant that it was served in saloons to inspire more drinking. At the same time, just like in Europe, caviar resources started to dwindle and prices began to increase.
In all of our history it was the beginning of the 20th century that saw caviar as prestigious food of the rich as sturgeon population grew shorter. It was not just about buying a tin or two. If you were having a cocktail reception for more than 50 people, you needed a lot of caviar and it had to be there the whole night through.
There is an economic law saying that if the item is rare, you will want it more. A test was conducted, offering people the same type of caviar with only the label being different. One tin was labeled as rare, and the other as regular. The results showed that people had given better ratings to the ‘rare’ one, describing its taste as “superior to the regular one.”
Sturgeon supply continued to drop throughout the 20th century. After the collapse of the USSR, suddenly five nations were bordering the Caspian Sea. Today, the sturgeon is an endangered species so only farmed caviar is available.
The taste of caviar is another thing. The taste majestically combines the pure cool ocean breeze sensation with that hint of saltiness. Everybody who tries caviar for the first time is genuinely shocked at how splendid and delicious it is.
True, somebody is going to be overwhelmed with the taste, and it is often heard that caviar tastes best only after trying it at least a hundred times.
Everybody used to eat caviar, until it became a symbol of the upper-class. There are some caviar types today that are reserved only for the upper-class such as Almas or Strottarga Bianco, however caviar is again coming back onto everybody’s plate.
You buy some amazing caviar, like Beluga, Osetra or White sturgeon. While it might not be something that you are going to eat every morning, caviar is the perfect choice for an unforgettable dinner, gift or special event. For you that might want to take caviar as part of your everyday diet, some cheaper versions like Salmon Roe or Paddlefish caviar can be a good substitute.
Salmon roe was and still is highly popular in Japan where it’s called ikura. Salmon roe is also very commonly found on the plate in Russia and Scandinavia as a cheaper substitute for caviar. Some of the most popular caviars hailing form the US native species are the White sturgeon and Lake Sturgeon.
A lot of people buy caviar not only because of its taste and luxury it brings about, but also because of its health benefits. It is full of omega-3 fatty acids and other minerals. Eating caviar is like taking the elixir of youth. Caviar is also used in skin and hair treatment. There are a lot of products, shampoos and other cosmetics that use the power of fish roe to heal and improve the quality of skin and hair.
If you haven’t tried caviar, I would urge you to do so. Not because it is a “thing” or something like that. Try it because it tastes amazing. There is no perfect set of words to describe it. You can find some truly amazing caviar, like Russian Osetra, Siberian Osetra, or famous Beluga right here at Bond Caviar.
Don’t forget to use a ceramic or mother-of-pearl spoon!