Guide to Buying & Enjoying Caviar
Many people, especially novices, feel intimidated when it comes to dealing with caviar. This is probably because caviar has a reputation for being a luxury delicacy. Caviar history traces presence of caviar in royal courts and prominent places. Even today, caviar receives respect. Further, with words like "malossol" on a label, people may be confused about what to buy. We often encounter people who want to learn how to buy caviar, as well as how to serve, store, and eat caviar. It is true that there is a right and wrong when it comes to this delicacy. Caviar etiquette does exist. After all, some varieties of caviar cost a lot of money. There is a way to savor the fish roe. There is a way to make sure that you buy caviar that is worth your money. There is also a way to serve caviar and store it so that it lasts. While this may seem complicated, you will soon learn that when it comes to this delicacy, simple is best.
How to Buy Caviar
Caviar prices can run quite high. That is why it is so important to know how to buy caviar. A novice can be quite confused when it comes to the range of fish roe that is out there. There are many varieties and, therefore, there are many questions to consider when it comes to buying caviar. It is best to approach the issue prepared. Ask friends and family about their opinion. What do they do when they want to buy caviar? Do they turn to retail stores? Do they buy caviar online? If you know a chef or gourmand, you should definitely ask for advice. For more information refer to print and online magazines that feature gourmet foods. Depending on your budget, look for reviews of caviar varieties and alternatives, try to learn more about farmed caviar and malossol, and learn more about the different origins of caviar.
There is nothing like educating yourself. It is the most important step in learning how to buy caviar. Turn to online sources for ease and convenience. You can find a lot about caviar online. Look at company web sites and see if they are reputable. Do your research. If you have questions, do not hesitate to email them to the stores. A reliable online caviar store will have a helpful and knowledgeable customer service staff. Sign up to receive a catalogue or newsletter if that is an option. If you feel that you are ready to buy caviar, make a small purchase at first. Test the service of the company and the quality of the product before making a larger purchase. While it is very easy to buy caviar online, you can choose to go to a retail outlet if there is one close to you. Fine caviar stores allow you to have a sample before making a purchase. This can help you narrow down your choice. If you want to play it safe, you can always turn to top brands like Petrossian and Romanoff caviar.
As you may already know, caviar prices can run quite high. This is especially true about sturgeon caviar from the Caspian Sea and Black Sea. The names Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga do signal hefty price tags. This is because the sturgeons that produce the caviar are threatened due to overfishing and pollution, and thus, the production of caviar is limited. Thus, Beluga caviar can cost around $5,000 per kilogram, with the most expensive caviar (a Beluga) selling for $25,000 a kilogram.
While the prices may be shocking to some people, rest assured that price is relative to the caviar source. Cheap caviar does exist. Because of the bans and regulations, alternative caviar types have risen to popularity. They are not as costly as the original Caspian sturgeon varieties; however, some types can be rather expensive. The bottom line is that you do not need to be apprehensive about having caviar at your next get together. You can find the delicacy at many price ranges.
How to Store Caviar
A delicacy like caviar requires care. If you want to ensure that your batch stays fresh, you need to learn the basics on how to store caviar. In general, you need to store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator-this means in the back and bottom. Temperatures ranging from 28 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit would work best. Since it contains salt and oils, it will not freeze at this temperature range. If your refrigerator does not get that cold, place an ice pack over the containers. If you are dealing with an unopened jar or tin, know that it was last for around two to four weeks. Pressed caviar will last for two to three months, and pasteurized caviar can sit unrefrigerated on a shelf for about six months to a year.
Therefore, the instructions on how to store caviar that is unopened are different from those on how to store opened tins and cans. Opened caviar needs to be guarded from air and warm temperatures. Leftovers need to covered in plastic wrap. Make sure that you press down with the wrap to release all air. After that, replace the lid and refrigerate. There is more to learning how to store caviar. You will need to turn the container every now and then to distribute the oils equally. Opened caviar should be consumed within two to three days. Some people might be tempted to freeze the roe. This is not a good idea whatsoever, as its taste and texture will be greatly affected. If frozen, it needs to be thawed slowly in the refrigerator and only used as garnish. In general, caviar is very perishable and it is always best to buy caviar as needed and eat it soon as possible.
How to Serve Caviar
Many people want to learn how to serve caviar. There is a tradition to it and it is always nice to follow tradition and etiquette when it comes to serving delicacies. Accordingly, refrigerated caviar should sit at room temperature five to ten minutes before serving. Next, place the caviar in the top bowl of a two-piece caviar server. The bottom container should hold shaved ice to keep the roe cool. The good news is that you can easily buy caviar servers online. There are beautiful mother-of-pearl caviar servers that are not easy to find in stores, but available online for people who really want to impress. To serve individually, take a traditional mother of pearl spoon as the utensil to be in contact with caviar. Gold, wood, and horn utensils may also be used. Silver utensils, according to some sources, will affect the taste of the caviar on the palate and should be avoided. This is disputed, however, and some people do not feel like silver affects the taste.
If you want to know how to serve caviar with the accompaniment of other foods, there are quite a few caviar recipes around. The delicacy goes well on blini and with potatoes. True connoisseurs, however, prefer it straight without any other flavors. If you are planning to have company over, you will need about one to two ounces per person. If you will be serving the caviar with toast points or crackers, you will need a half to one ounce per person. If you appreciate a good drink and want to know how to serve caviar, you can always follow Russian tradition and go with white vodka. Dry champagne is also a good accompaniment. Serving caviar is not the only point of interest; many people also want to learn how to eat caviar. There is nothing like tradition.
How to Eat Caviar
If you run in circles where caviar servers and names like Petrossian, Osetra, Romanoff, and Beluga are commonplace, then you probably know that learning how to eat caviar is important. If tradition is followed and the hosts of a party really know how to serve caviar, you will come across a two-piece set that contains the delicacy and takes good care of it. This is a caviar server. The bottom piece contains ice to keep the caviar in the top bowl chilled. A mother of pearl spoon is traditionally used to eat caviar, but horn, gold, and wood spoons may also be used.
The delicacy is usually consumed plain, without the addition of spices and herbs. To appreciate the flavor of the delicacy, eat it in very small amounts. If the flavor is too intense for you, spread it on blini or bread. It is also recommended to keep cooking caviar to a minimum, if possible. This will ruin the roe, according to connoisseurs who have a wealth of knowledge on how to eat caviar. It is best to use it as a garnish to dishes or to add it toward the end of preparation in caviar recipes. This is the case if you are using high-quality sturgeon caviar like Beluga, Osetra, or Sevruga that come from the Caspian and Black Seas. Other inexpensive varieties like capelin caviar can be more readily used in grilling and baking. The precise instructions on how to eat caviar do not hold true for the alternatives.