When you think luxury food, caviar is definitely one of the first things that come to mind. Along with gold leaves and diamond-encrusted meals, caviar is among the finer things in the world of gastronomy. Find out what makes this food so special with these 30 delicious facts.
- National Caviar Day falls on 18th July.
- Caviar is largely produced in the Northern hemisphere, mainly from the Caspian Sea.
- U.S. is the largest importer of caviar, with 15% of the world’s imports
- Caviar is a French word, but it actually comes from khayah, the Persian word for egg.
- Caviar was a delicacy in the Persian empire as early as 2000 BC.
- Caviar is the salted roe or egg of sturgeons, and is best served chilled.
- There are more than 27 species of sturgeons, and the 3 species that produce the best caviar are the Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga.
- The demand for caviar almost caused the beluga sturgeons to be extinct.
- A sturgeon can take up to 20 years to produce roe.
- Sturgeons can carry almost 100 pounds of eggs.
- Always check for the CITES label on the back of the tin when you purchase caviar.
- The quality of caviar is determined based on its color, flavor, texture and maturity.
- You can hear caviar. A good quality caviar sounds like cat’s purr when it’s packed.
- China is the largest producer of caviar, accounting for 60% of world production. Kaluga Queen in Zhejiang, China is the largest caviar company in the world.
- There are alternative caviar from other fishes such as salmon, trout, whitefish, and carp.
- Caviar should not touch silver. (Unless you like your caviar with some metallic taste.)
- You should be able to taste 15 different flavors if it’s good caviar.
- When tasting different caviar, have some water, still or sparkling, to cleanse your palate.
- Some airlines serve caviar to their First Class passengers.
- In the past, caviar was prescribed to alleviate depression.
Good caviar sparkles like diamonds.
When you open a tin of good caviar, they should be shiny. Good caviar pops in your mouth, and each caviar is distinct when you eat them.
Champagne or vodka are the best accompaniments when having caviar.
Avoid having caviar with red or white wine, as these wines with stronger flavors may compete and overpower the flavor of the caviar.
Sturgeons are now farmed-raised, instead of harvested wild.
Kaluga Queen, the largest producer of caviar, farm sturgeons at Qiandao Lake. Rearing more than 50,000 sturgeons, it sells 60 tons of caviar every year. It provides caviar for 21 out of the 26 Michelin 3-starred restaurants in Paris. Despite the large supply of caviar due to farm-raised sturgeons, the demand for caviar is still higher than the supply.
Sturgeons are caught before they lay their eggs.
Previously, these sturgeons are caught and killed before extracting their eggs. However, Russian scientists now sedate the sturgeons before massaging them to harvest the eggs. These sturgeons are then released back to the sea.
More expensive caviar may not be the most delicious one.
Although the rarity of the type of caviar determines its price, it does not mean that the rare caviar tastes better. Factors such as species of the fish, how it was raised, and how the roe is treated can affect the final flavor of the caviar.
Caviar can vary between batches, and even between tins.
Here’s a tip: Always taste some before you buy caviar. Just to be safe that you like the one you purchase, always ask to taste some (regardless of how sure you are of the flavor).
Caviar is packed with vitamins and minerals.
It is full of vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, B44, C, and D, as well as protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium. This contributes to your healthy nervous, circulatory and immune system. (Wow, good things sure come rare, isn’t it?)
The most expensive caviar, called Almas, costs around $34,500 per kg.
Almas is a beluga-albino caviar produced from the eggs of the extremely rare albino sturgeons that are 60 – 100 years old.
The first known record of caviar dates back to Aristotle, the Greek scholar.
Rulers of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and the Russian tsars popularised the consumption of caviar. It was the Russian tsars who elevated caviar into the world of luxury.
The phrase ‘Caviar to the general’ originated from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
“The play, I remember, pleased not the million, ’twas caviar to the general.” The word ‘caviar’ has a figurative meaning in this context that the general public was not able to appreciate the play.