iranian and russian caviar
the wealth of the caspian sea
Mother Russia is the forbearer of the caviar industry, with
methods developed and perfected through generations. Nobody
loves and knows their caviar like the Russians, and they have
made its consumption nothing less of an art. Caviar was so
highly prized in Russia it was reserved for the sole delight
of the Tsar and the imperial family (thus many “Imperial”
categorizations for the finest, most rare caviars). Russian
caviar can be divided into the main sturgeon species fished
off the coast of Russia, in the Caspian Sea: Beluga, Osetra,
and Sevruga (you will also find mentions of Sterlet or Imperial
Caviar, but starlet populations have been decimated and are
now all but extinct). Currently, the Russian caviar industry
has suffered a huge decline due to drastic over-fishing of
sturgeon in the Caspian Sea, as well as internal political
turmoil. How does this affect the caviar-lover? Well, it basically
means Russian caviar (especially Beluga) has become harder
to come by, and much more expensive.
view our full list of Russian Caviar products>
Caviar harvested and fished from sturgeon species off the
coast of Iran in the Caspian Sea, primarily the southwest
shores, where the water is cooler, and, according to some
scientific studies, much cleaner from environmental pollutions
that could potentially affect sturgeon populations. Although
Russian Beluga Caviar has traditionally been considered the
higher-end product, Iranian Beluga Caviar is of equal quality,
as they are both produced from the same species of sturgeon,
in the same waters (the Caspian Sea also borders Russia).
Iranian sturgeon species are typically: Beluga, Osetra, Asetra
and Sevruga, all fetching the same (or even higher) prices
than the identical Russian caviars.
The best, rarest – and definitely the most expensive-
of caviars is the Beluga Caviar, traditionally harvested in
the Caspian Sea fisheries in Russia and Iran, from the white
beluga sturgeon. Baluga roe is superb- large eggs, soft in
texture, heavy and ripe, ranging from pale silver to black
in color. By far the highest quality caviar you can get, with
the most superior flavor. Soft, buttery taste, with a delicate
and sweet flavor.
The next-best-thing to Beluga Caviar, Osetra is of medium-size,
and comes from the osetra sturgeon, harvested mainly in Russian
and Iran. You’ll find caviar fans that will swear by
this caviar, preferring it over beluga. To rest the case,
osetra is a fantastic product all the way around, and in the
world of gourmet caviar, it is definitely not a runner-up.
It is intensely nutty, and has an oilier, silkier texture
that just melts in your mouth. It is more recognizable due
to its golden yellow/brownish color. Golden Ossetra or Golden
Imperial caviar is highly sought-after by connoisseurs, and
is very expensive.
view our list of Ossetra Caviar products>
Imperial/Golden Osetra/Royal Caviar
Imperial caviar comes from the most rare, most mature Ossetra
sturgeon. This type of caviar is highly coveted by connoisseurs,
for its firm golden grains that deliver an earthy, nutty and
fruity flavor. The color can vary from golden to greenish.
Originally, imperial caviar came from the Sterlet sturgeon,
now largely extinct. Also referred to as Royal Ossetra, or
Golden Imperial Caviar.
view our list of Osetra Caviar products>
Here’s an option for those with a budget in mind: Sevruga
caviar. You get the high quality and taste of a sturgeon roe,
but from a far more common species of fish, therefore making
it more available, and thus less expensive. The sevruga sturgeon
is small, and reproduces faster that the other species, so
this caviar is cheaper and easier to find. Taste-wise, it
is strong, but the eggs are on the smallish side (slightly
greenish or gray) and crunchier than the other sturgeon varieties.
view our list of Sevruga Caviar products>
000/ Triple Zero Caviar
This category of grade refers to the color of the caviar,
a categorization scale that goes from 000 to 0, 000 being
the lightest, and 0 the darkest (00 Caviar is medium grey).
Although the taste remains the same, typically the lighter
caviars are more highly prized and priced than the darker
ones. Although this is not a scientific fact per say, those
in the know say younger sturgeons produce the lightest eggs,
which could account for the pricing difference. Bottom line:
Since Beluga is the best caviar around; Beluga 000 would then
be the best, more rare and more expensive caviar available.
Triple zero caviar is also called royal caviar.
Typically from the Caspian Sea in Iran, this is a complex
and very sophisticated caviar. Asetra Caviar is dark to light
gray, and can also be golden color (Golden Asetra comes from
the albino sturgeon), with a fresh nutty flavor.
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