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Sturgeon Caviar: A Primer on the Most Exclusive Luxury Food

by Hannah Abaffy   |   April 27, 2023   |  

Long considered the epitome of gourmet dining, caviar has been a staple among those who could afford it; for as far back as the history books go. A treasure of the deep, this luxury food is made from the eggs (also known as roe) of the Sturgeon fish. Carefully harvested, rinsed, and salted, the finished product is a delicate and luxurious ingredient that offers a rich buttery taste and tender popping texture unique to itself.

The ideal garnish or accompaniment to other dishes, you’ll most often see these eggs served atop blini or toast points paired with champagne or ice-cold vodka. Make the most of this food by learning a little more about the nuances of this premium ingredient in the article below.

What is Sturgeon?

Sturgeon is the common name for a variety of large fish belonging to the Acipenseridae family. Consisting of 29 different species, these fish are native to the Northern Hemisphere and can be found in the rivers, lakes, and coastlines of Europe, Asia, and North America.

Easily distinguished by their long, bony bodies and distinctive snouts, Sturgeon is one of the most valuable fish in the world, thanks to the delicate and delicious eggs they produce. Recognized as the pinnacle of gourmet dining, Russian Sturgeon caviar is highly prized around the world. Unfortunately, after years of overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction, many species of this fish are now considered endangered, making their exquisite roe even more valuable.

Types of Sturgeon Caviar

As mentioned, there are 29 different types of Sturgeon fish, each boasting its own delightful characteristics. From variances in color and texture to taste and size, there’s a wide array of delicious differences to be sampled and enjoyed! Some of the types include American Hackleback Sturgeon, Amur Sturgeon, and even White Sturgeon caviar. In fact, books could be written on the topic and have been, but for the uninitiated, there are four main varieties you need to know. Considered the creme de la creme among caviar connoisseurs, we’ll explain a little about each:


Considered to be the most prized variety in the world, Beluga Sturgeon produces large pearlescent eggs with a creamy texture and a rich, subtle flavor. Popular to the point of being on the endangered list, Beluga fishing is highly regulated and carefully restricted. Between its difficulty to acquire and its continued popularity within the culinary community, it’s the rarest and most expensive black sturgeon caviar variety on the market.


A worthy contender, Ossetra caviar is a flavorful competitor to Beluga. Equally luxurious, this Sturgeon caviar size is slightly smaller, giving it a more pronounced pop.

Ossetra eggs range in color from brown to gold; the color of the eggs directly correlates to the age of the Sturgeon caviar fish from which it was harvested. The lighter the egg, the older the Sturgeon, and in turn, the richer the flavor. This makes golden Sturgeon caviar the most luxurious and delicious available. Offering equally delightful characteristics, Ossetra is easier to source, making it less expensive than Beluga and more readily available.


Sevruga Sturgeon are found primarily in the Caspian and Black Seas. Distinguished by its small, dark pearls and bold flavor profile, this variety of wild Sturgeon caviar is the ideal choice for the seasoned roe lover. With intense taste and pronounced saltiness finished by highlights of nut and cream, it offers the most of what you love. Thanks to their quicker reproduction rates, Sevruga Sturgeon are available at a more approachable price point.


Kaluga Sturgeon caviar, known informally as River Sturgeon, is a farm-raised caviar. Native to the Amur River Basin, these giant fish have thrived within their manmade environment producing some of the most coveted roe on the market. Sustainable and delicious, more and more of your favorite caviars are being cultivated rather than caught. This approach also offers greater control in quality and uniformity, ensuring each tin is filled with consistently large eggs bursting with a rich buttery flavor and a tender pop. Amur Sturgeon caviar is one of the most prized caviars due not only to its taste but also to the Kaluga’s slow-growing nature. Relatively rare compared to other farm-raised options, it retains extreme appeal due to its scarcity.

Grades of Caviar

The grade of caviar is determined through a variety of factors, including uniformity, texture, aroma, egg color, and size. After careful review by masterfully trained inspectors, the caviar pearls are separated into two categories, grades 1 and 2.

To the uninitiated caviar eater, these differences may seem so minute as to be imperceptible. But as the palate is developed, the differences become more pronounced, and your preferences will soon become clear!

Grade 1: is reserved for only the highest quality roe. The largest, firmest pearls with the finest flavor and color are selected to fill these tins with their delicate richness.

Grade 2: while also sourced from Sturgeon fish, these eggs are slightly less uniform, their orbs less delicate. While they offer delightful taste, they are considered aesthetically less pleasing.

Health Benefits

Caviar is one of those rare foods that offer both a luxurious taste and bountiful health benefits. High in Omega-3 fatty acids that increase brain function and reduce inflammation in the body, they are one of the best sources for this necessary dietary supplement.

Rich in vitamins and minerals, you’ll also find these tiny eggs are packed with vitamins A, B12, and D, as well as minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. A veritable superfood, the Sturgeon caviar benefits don’t stop there. Great for overall health, they are known to improve the appearance of your skin and so much more. One of those rare foods, this single ingredient is as healthy as it is delicious!


What is Sturgeon Caviar?

From Russian and Siberian to American and beyond, varieties of Sturgeon fish can be found around the globe, each producing its own uniquely delicious roe known as caviar. Long considered the epitome of gourmet dining, you’ll love the unique flavor and delicate pop they provide.

Is Sturgeon Caviar Illegal?

In general, the sale and trade of Sturgeon caviar are legal as long as it is harvested and sold in accordance with the regulations set forth by CITES and other governing bodies. However, there are restrictions on the import and export of certain species and their products. To ensure you’re getting premium caviar that has been legally and sustainably sourced: be sure to purchase it from reputable purveyors like Gourmet Food Store!

What are the Benefits of Eating Caviar?

Caviar is one of those rare foods that are just as healthy as it is delicious. Bursting with essential fatty acids and a laundry list of vitamins and minerals vital for a balanced diet, here's an epicurean delight you can feel good about indulging in.

Why is Sturgeon Caviar so Expensive?

Sturgeon is one of the longest-living fish in the world, and its growth and reproduction rates are notoriously slow. These facts of nature; coupled with centuries of overfishing and pollution have made sourcing Sturgeon difficult. Consistently in high demand by those within the culinary community, this ingredient is one of the most expensive food items in the world.

Where Can I Buy Caviar?

If you’re looking for the highest quality fish roe on the market, look no further than Gourmet Food Store! Our carefully curated selection of caviars is second to none, made evident by a long list of happy customers and five star reviews!

Bowfin Caviar vs. Sturgeon

While these are both types of roe, the Bowfin and Sturgeon are different species of fish, each with their own distinct flavors and textures.

Sturgeon is a delicacy known for its rich buttery profile, while Bowfin produces a smaller, firmer egg with a complex earthy taste. While some prefer the subtleties of Sturgeon, others like the bold taste of the Bowfin, it all comes down to personal preference!

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