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» » » Caviar Dictionary

Caviar Dictionary

by GourmetFoodStore.com

The world of caviar can be quite confusing and overwhelming. Caviar or roe? Beluga or Sevruga? Malossol…or…well, you get the idea. The first step is to learn (or brush up) on your terminology. You’ll be a connoisseur in no time (or at least be able to pass yourself as one).


[u'kooturmunt] an accessory or utensil.

Blini/Blinis/Blin [BLEE-nee] 

Typical in Russian kitchens, these are small, thin, yeast-raised buckwheat pancakes, usually served with caviar, smoked salmon, and crème fraîche or sour cream.

Brut [Broot]

In champagne, a classification meaning extremely dry. (A sugar content of 5-15 grams per liter). See also extra brut.

Caspian Sea  

A large saltwater lake between Iran and Russia, fed by the River Volga.


Strictly speaking, the correct and proper definition of caviar islimited to eggs harvested from different species of sturgeon, traditionally Beluga, Osetra and Sevruga sturgeon from the Caspian Sea in Russia and Iran. However, the rising popularity of other types of fish roe in modern cuisine has caused the definition of “caviar” to broaden. Nowadays, basically any fish egg is referred to as caviar.

Crème fraîche/Crème fresh [krehm FRESH] 

In French, fresh cream. Matured, thickened cream, unpasteurized (but only in France). In America it is prepared with sour cream and buttermilk.

Extra Brut [EXTRA broot] 

See Brut. A classification for champagnes with sugar content of 0-6 grams per liter of wine.


An edible item added to a finished food or dish for decorative purposes.


Saltwater fish of the cold waters of North Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Also known as shad in America. The roe of the Spanish Avruga herring is known as Avruga Caviar or Avruga Roe.


Food prepared in conformance with Jewish dietary laws and norms.

Malossol [MAHL-oh-sahl] 

In Russian, word meaning “little salt”.


The process of sterilizing food using high temperatures to removed harmful microorganisms without changing the chemical composition of the food. See pasteurized caviar.

Persia [purzhu]

Present-day Iran.

Persian Caviar

Caviar from Iran.


In caviar, the compressing of one or more types of roe to produce pressed caviar or payusnaya/pajusnaya.

Red caviar

Salmon caviar or salmon roe.

Roe [ROH]

Sounds like “row”. The eggs of a fish. The female fish’s eggs are called hard roe, while the male is categorized as soft roe (actually sperm, not eggs). To be considered proper caviar, the roe must come from sturgeon.

Sturgeon Caviar

The roe of the sturgeon. See Caviar.


Large migratory fish found mainly in the Caspian Sea and Black Sea, some parts of the Pacific Northwest and South Atlantic regions of North America, and common in the big lakes and rivers in Europe. Although it is saltwater fish, it spawns (lays eggs) in freshwater. The roe is highly prized and known as caviar.

Wasabi [WAH-sah-bee]

Or Japanese horseradish. The root of an Asian plant, from Japan. In paste form or powder form, used popularly in Japanese Sushi cuisine as a condiment.

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