Caviar is without one of the first foods that come to mind when luxury foods are being discussed. It is a sought after dish during prestigious events which leave the question of how does one eat and serve Caviar? What is the best way to eat it?
To appreciate Caviar one must first understand where it comes from. The caviar comes from Sturgeon fish that comes in three species- the Osetra, Sevruga and the Beluga. These species are found in the Caspian Sea but because there is immense overfishing over the last 20 years the Sturgeon fish is already rare, and because of that other fish varieties were cultivated like the Roe fish.
Caviar can also come from other types of fish like salmon, however, this is not considered as “true caviar”. But a lot of brands are trying to get away with labeling some fish eggs as ‘ salmon caviar.
There are different types and grades of Caviar, and it is assessed based on the texture of the beads and the size and how firm the beads are when it gets inside your mouth. Firmer beads of caviar that pop inside your mouth are considered rare and are deemed more expensive by experts.
The most expensive caviar the Beluga can cost from $7,000 to $10,000 per kilogram or $4,500 per pound.
How To Eat Caviar
Whether pasteurized or fresh, caviar should always be chilled when served.
For purists, caviar is best eaten alone. Use a special spoon made of bone, crystal, or mother of pearl (metal spoons are believed to alter the taste) to eat the beads. Caviar should be served and consumed in amounts smaller than a tablespoon. It is traditional etiquette to eat caviar in small bites, and if you’re just learning to eat it, small bites will help you experience the flavor more completely without becoming overwhelmed by the flavor or texture.
Caviar is also often served with freshly buttered toast points, topped with a dollop of crème Fraiche. Blini, thin buckwheat pancakes of Russian origin, are topped with a spoonful of caviar and a dot of sour cream and then loosely rolled into a tube. In some Eastern European countries, caviar is eaten with small steamed potatoes.
Experts recommend buying a 30-gram tin for two people. Whether fresh or pasteurized, caviar leftovers only keep for a day or two (but most recommend just finishing the jar on the spot).
If you absolutely must store it, place the caviar in its original container, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and then replace the lid. Place it in the coldest part of your refrigerator, and pack the caviar container in ice if the fridge doesn’t maintain a temperature below 32 degrees.
Fine caviar should be served alone, very cold (26-35F) and preferably in a non-metallic bowl nested inside a larger bowl filled with crushed ice. It is usually not recommended to transfer the eggs from the tin to a serving dish because they may break unless extensive care is taken while doing so. Silver and metal bowls and utensils should be avoided due to oxidation, which may impart a metallic taste to the caviar. The best choices are servers and utensils made of glass, bone, or to be truly traditional, mother-of-pearl or gold.
Although caviar is best served by itself, common accompaniments include crème Fraiche, lemon wedges, hard-cooked eggs (yolks and whites chopped separately), mini potatoes, minced onions, blinis (Russian mini crepes), toast points lightly coated with unsalted butter. Higher quality caviars are best eaten alone or simply with toast, blinis or unsalted crackers.
When using different types of caviar, they should be served in the order of intensity of the taste, beginning with a milder-flavor, such as White Sturgeon and moving onto those that are more intense, such as Sevruga.
What Beverages should be served together with Caviar?
Caviar is best paired with alcoholic beverages and traditional Russian aristocracy usually eats caviar with heavy chilled vodka, champagne, and wine. However you must not serve caviar with just about any wine, there are specific types of wine that go along with the taste.
Pair caviar with Sauvignon Blanc & Golden Whitefish, Salmon and Trout Caviar. Chardonnay & Beluga with Osetra, White Sturgeon Caviar. Brut & Sturgeon Caviar, Blanc de Blanc with Salmon and White Sturgeon Caviar. Sparkling Rose goes well with Beluga and Osetra Caviar. While Pinot Noir goes well with Golden Whitefish, White Sturgeon Caviar, and Salmon Caviar.
How To Serve and Garnish Caviar?
Caviar is already luxurious and delightful in itself, it is best to eat it directly so that no garnish can tarnish the flavor. Only the ones who find the taste of caviar too intense garnish it with other things like unsalted crackers and hard-boiled eggs. Others who want the experience to be a little bit more creative add oysters and white chocolate. Caviar is the Queen of the meal and should be given proper attention during the event.
Caviar Dining Etiquette
Avoid eating too much caviar, no matter how much tempted you are to eat more. 2 ounces is enough or about two spoonfuls. Do not chew the caviar because in doing so it will lose its flavor, use your tongue instead to feel the beads of the fish eggs and to savor the buttery fat. Savor and relish caviar and enjoy it. Begin with a half teaspoon and then luxuriate the experience by eating the caviar bit by bit.
Caviar is a rich source of Vitamin A and D, it also includes a healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids and is said to be able to hinder the symptoms of depression. It is also considered as an aphrodisiac and a dish best-loved by Royalty.
Caviar, however, is not for those who are into vegetarianism. The good news is that there are now vegetarian caviar substitutes that are already available. These caviar substitutes are made out of seaweed and algae like the Kelp Caviar that comes from Canada and Cavi-art that comes with a taste effect of lumpfish flavors and salmon.