Opening a jar of fine caviar is like discovering a miniature treasure chest filled to over flowing with tiny, delicate pearls glistening as though illuminated from within.
One mouthful is so luxurious. The rich, creamy texture mingles with the buttery taste and each tiny bead bursts saturating the palate with their delicate flavor.
Caviar is to dining what a sable coat is to a girl in evening dress. ~ Ludwin Bemelmans
Caviar: An Edible Luxury
Caviar, the world’s most expensive edible luxury, is harvested mainly from the sturgeon family of fish. The Caspian Sea is the original birthplace of caviar production and home to this fresh water family. Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga are the most delectable and considered the only true caviar, but sadly over fishing, pollution and loss of habitat have all contributed to a serious decline in their population leading to strict sanctions being placed on production. In order to preserve this endangered fish and rebuild the health of the Caspian it is essential to turn to sustainable products offered by reputable producers around the world. Modern fishing methods have introduced worthy alternatives to the marketplace and farming is being embraced. Many countries offer quality products via farming and some top named chefs have joined the movement to support sustainable caviar.
The Art of Indulging in Caviar
Sturgeon caviar ranges in color from the light amber of the older Osetra to the light and dark charcoal hues of the Beluga, the largest of the sturgeons. There is also a colorful array of roe offered in the non-sturgeon class. Among them, salmon roe radiates a beautiful shade of red with a distinctly salmon flavor, and the European trout offers smallish, orange colored roe with a sweet smoky flavor. These caviars can be served on their own or used to brighten a number of appetizers and side dishes.
How To Get The Best Out of Your Caviar
All fresh caviar should be stored between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius and can be refrigerated up to four weeks unopened; the best caviar should never be frozen. Mother of pearl or gold serving spoons are essential as they will not taint the taste of the caviar or damage the delicate form. Once open caviar should be displayed on ice and offered with simple accompaniments, though many connoisseurs believe to truly experience the full pleasure of caviar, it is to be savored on its own. However, a simple offering of blinis topped with crème fraiche and a generous dollop of caviar with a glass of champagne would tempt even the most devoted lover of this delicacy. On the off chance there is any leftover, refrigerate appropriately and enjoy your caviar within two to three days.
Indulging in caviar and enjoying the rich, pleasure filled experience is worth the expense. No matter the celebration the tone will be set when caviar is offered as a complement to the evening, truly a delicacy worth relishing.
By Lee Anne Michayluk