Buying Caviar Online: Know What to Look for
Caviar is surrounded by mystique and royal trappings. A delicacy in the truest sense of the word, Caviar is the salted, processed eggs of sturgeon fish, most famously from the ancient Beluga variety. Wild sturgeon from the Caspian Sea are protected internationally, so Russia and Iran have almost entirely stopped taking wild sturgeon from the Caspian. Today, most Caviar is taken from farmed sturgeon. The eggs are removed from the sturgeon and then soaked in a salt water brine. This brine helps preserve the fragile Caviar eggs, along with enhancing the natural flavors of the roe.
With its buttery, subtle taste, Caviar can be considered like a fine wine. The region the fish comes from will impact the flavor of its roe in the same way a California Cabernet will taste radically different from a French Cabernet. This is one of the joys for the Caviar connoisseur - exploring the intricate nuances that each new experience offers.
When enjoying Caviar, make sure to just relax and not overcomplicate the experience. To allow the delicate flavor of the caviar to come through, serve the caviar on a plain base, such as the traditional buckwheat blini. Plain crackers, toasted brioche, or challah bread are all perfect substitutes. You can then top with a small dollop of crème fraiche on the blini, then add the caviar. For the purist, just enjoy the caviar by the spoonful will no adornment, pressing the eggs against the roof of your mouth with your tongue until they pop.
On the subject of serving Caviar, never use metal. The delicate nature of Caviar is so fragile that using a metal bowl or spoon will give the caviar an “off” flavor of a metallic tang. In haut cuisine, Caviar should be served in a bowl made of ice with a pearl or bone spoon. If you don’t have the luxury of such serving wear, glass will work fine. If all else fails, use plastic before you ever consider using metal serving ware.
Fish may shine though with a squirt of lemon, but do not apply acidic liquids to caviar, as this can neutralize any flavor you have paid for.