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Caviar, those fresh eggs that cost a fortune, is one of the oldest delicacies known to man. But no matter how old this delicacy is, it doesn’t mean that most of us have tasted it. If you haven’t eaten those fancy eggs, you may always ask “what caviar tastes like?”
Caviar has long been coveted by man. Rulers of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations were said to have splurged on this delicacy. But not everyone is fortunate enough to have tasted caviar. Don’t worry as I would share what I know about this food.
What is caviar?
a box of caviar and a spoon
Caviar is salted or cured fish roe or fish egg. We have grown accustomed to calling any fish egg as caviar, although the authentic caviar comes from the family of fish species called sturgeon. Those fishes, including beluga and sevruga, are native to the Caspian Sea.
However, roe of other fishes like salmon and whitefish can also be processed into caviar. But connoisseurs call these ‘substitute’ caviar and not real caviar.
Caviar is enjoyed in different ways. Some Russians eat it for breakfast. Others use it as a topping for black bread.
I was lucky enough to have tasted it while on a trans-Atlantic flight. I was served caviar and champagne, and the experience was so memorable.
How does caviar taste like?
two boxes of caviar and two spoons on the table
So to the question at hand— how does caviar taste like?
I will describe it as a bit salty with a buttery richness. The taste is very much comparable with fresh or smoked salmon, which is probably the best comparison that I can think of.
There are many people who find caviar to be too fishy and salty. In fact, some of them may even wonder what the fuss about this expensive food is all about after tasting it.
It’s hard to blame them. I know some friends who think that caviar is overrated. But I think tasting caviar for the first time is similar to drinking beer or port wine when you were younger. You surely didn’t like liquor the first time that you tasted it, right?
But if you are lucky enough to taste two or three samplings of caviar, you will understand why it is one of the world’s most expensive foods. The really good ones aren’t salty at all. The individual eggs will make an individual ‘pop’ that release a mild salty taste, and a distinctive flavor that fills our nose.
The really expensive caviar doesn’t have the oiliness that poor quality caviar has. Osetra and Sevruga caviar which are both expensive are often described as having a nutty flavor.
You can also tell the richness of a caviar’s flavor just by looking at it. Large eggs with light color are more likely to be less salty. Smaller eggs which are darker in color have an intensely fishy flavor.
Why is caviar so expensive?
a caviar sourced from Iranian Beluga fish
Speaking of expensive, the next question you may have in mind is this—‘why is caviar so expensive?’
Caviar is often labeled as the food of the czars, and rightfully so. The Guinness Book of World Records lists a particular type of caviar as the world’s most expensive food. “Almas”, a caviar sourced from Iranian Beluga fish is sold for around $34,500.
Why is it that expensive? Well, the eggs come from a rare sturgeon aged between 60 and 100 years old.
The high price tag that caviar commands can be attributed to other reasons. One is that sturgeon fish from where caviar roe comes from takes up to two decades to reach its adult size.
The endangered status of beluga sturgeon is also another factor why caviar is so expensive. Several countries such as the US have banned import of beluga caviar.
Prices of caviar can also be affected by its form. Unpasteurized caviar is more expensive than pasteurized ones because connoisseurs say it pasteurization can affect the taste and texture of the roe.
Processing caviar is also very labor intensive, which further add up to its price.
Are there health benefits of eating caviar?
Pieces of bread with caviar and cheese and cups of water
While you don’t really eat caviar because of its health benefits, the good news is that this expensive food is quite nutritious, too.
It’s not really surprising because caviar comes from fish, which is known to be a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Recent studies have shown that fish consumption and intake of essential fatty acids like omega 3 and eicosapentaenoic acid can improve heart health.
It is also rich in vitamins A, C, and E which are known to promote the good overall function of the immune system.
Regular consumption of fish is also recommended for pregnant women, as well as those who plan to become pregnant, as it can promote normal fetal brain development.
Pieces of bread with caviar and cheese
There’s a good chance that you may be underwhelmed when you first taste caviar. But you will eventually understand why this is one of the more popular delicacies in the world. The taste and texture of caviar are simply beyond compare.