How to buy caviar (useful caviar guide)
First of all let us define the term – CAVIAR. It is not just any fish eggs or roe. It is particular roe from particular kind of fish – sturgeon. It does not really matter where it is harvested. So that could be Mississippi River sturgeon, or an Idaho white sturgeon, and it could be an imperial Russian sturgeon. Whatever.
The other kinds of fish roe can be called “caviar” but manufactures should write the name of fish first. And such kinds of fish roe are more affordable because they are less unique. When speaking about Sturgeon roe you always imagine something really expensive. And the caviar price does not only depends on brand or type of curing. Sturgeon fish eggs cost a fortune by reason of being a rare kind of delicacy. And it must be expensive. We somehow agreed on this fact many centuries ago.
Naturally, in our 21st century the price of caviar ranks this product among the world’s most luxurious foods. One kilogram or 2.3 pounds of this Sturgeon delicacy would be sold to you for almost $35,000 (or £20,000). There is also a kind of caviar which is sold for $40,000 a spoonful. Yes, only one spoonful. This caviar is also known as Strottarga Bianco and it’s the roe of the very rare Albino Sturgeon.
Why Is Caviar So Expensive? There are several reasons.
First of all - it is time consuming process. To produce a good quality roe fish should be mature. It reaches this age when it is 20. So the producer has to wait 20 year before he can get the first “harvest”.
Next option - it’s non-renewable. It should be highlighted that is always killed for the purpose of obtaining its roe. Unlike chickens or ducks that can lay eggs several times over. Third thing is its rareness. If only one rare type of fish produce limited amount of roe, it WILL be costly.
One more important fact is that some of the most valuable roe-producing fish species are now on the brink of extinction. Some producers, with Marky’s among them, try to improve the situation by managing fish farms (Sturgeon Aquafarms). Thus, it’s understandable that their prices contain quality raising of the fish.
Last but not least reason is high demand. Of course it is not the same as for bread or water. High demand is usually a consequence of low supply, as well as an influential factor in the increase in global caviar cost.
There are even several different criteria for determining quality of caviar. It doesn’t mean, however, that Grade-2 caviar is worse than Grade-1 caviar.
Here are the main features of such a division:
Grade-1 beads must be big and firm. They should be intact, but very delicate, have fine even color and mild taste.
Grade-2 beads are usually smaller. Their flavor has more piquancy. But the other characteristics are mainly the same.
Furthermore, there are three criteria for the color of beads:
“0” is used to indicate darker gray colors. Such roe is usually not so expensive(but not cheap either). The price can start from $12 for 0.5 oz.
“00” stands for medium gray color. It can be Russian Osetra Karat Caviar which price starts from $40 for 0.5 oz.
“000” is an indicator of silverish or very light colors. Here prices can start from $140 for 0.5 oz.
Buying fish roe you always should be aware not only about its grade and color, you have to think of the fact that it is a kind of food. And as any other kind of meal it must be fresh and of high quality. And one should understand that you can receive quality from unknown brand of food bought in the unknown strange place.
Remember that if you purchase it from a tested manufacturer, cheap caviar (or it would better to say “cheaper” caviar) doesn’t mean a product of lower quality. As mentioned above caviar prices per pound differ. We have already said that they depend on grade, color, rareness. The kind of fish and conditions under which it was raised are important as well. To say nothing of the way the roe was obtained from it. Accordingly, if the roe is pricey it is not a guarantee that you will like it more. It all depends on the taste. The world of caviar is as fascinating as the world of wines, and its connoisseurs are called exactly this way – caviar sommeliers!
If you are buying caviar for the first time or going to try a particular kind of that delicacy, you’d better pay attention to the caviar price per once. One ounce is equal to almost thirty grams. This amount is acknowledged enough to enjoy two lavish bits. Or you can try caviar samples in sets.
Finally one last tip. The best kind of caviar is the one with the least amount of salt. Thus it should be only lightly cured. Higher quality stuff won’t need to hide behind a ton of salt.
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