History of Caviar

Caviar history goes back to the fourth century BC, according to records from the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Accordingly, the roe of sturgeon was present in banquets at the time. Caviar became a major luxury delicacy later because of the Russian tsars. However, the Persians were technically the salted caviar creators. Many people give this honor in caviar history to the Russians who are famous for their malossol caviar, which is lightly salted.

In the twelfth century, caviar was well known in Russia and by the sixteenth century, it penetrated into Europe as a luxury item for royalty. Russian caviar entered the international trade market in the nineteenth century. It was considered a luxury item throughout the world. The Russians were not alone in caviar production, as Iran, located on the southern end of the Caspian Sea, also began producing the delicacy. Persian caviar was also a highly respected quality product.

The next triumph for caviar occurred in 1873 when Henry Schacht established a caviar business in America. He used sturgeon from the Delaware River. The United States became a big caviar producer, only second to Russia. The fish roe was so popular in the US that saloons served it free of charge, as customers would buy more and more drinks to deal with its salty taste. High-end restaurants offered caviar as an appetizer. Europe became a huge buyer of American caviar. However, things eventually changed. By the year 1910, the sturgeon was almost extinct in America because of overfishing. This resulted in the halting of production. Thus, caviar became a very expensive luxury item in the United States.

A somewhat similar fate followed in the Caspian Sea. Caviar history was marred again, as the sea that was the chief caviar creator also suffered from overfishing, pollution, and poaching. Caspian sturgeon populations were down, too. In 1988, the sturgeon gained protection as endangered species and trade was regulated. Regardless of this, black market trade and poaching still occur in the region. The regulations concerning the bans have changed throughout the years, but there is a limit put on sturgeon harvesting and trade. The limited amount of caviar that does come from the region is high priced, because of these regulations. As a result, farmed caviar and other alternatives are increasingly popular today.