Connoisseurs love it, but there are many foodies that blanch at the idea of eating caviar. And while it’s normal to balk at the idea, it tastes nothing like what one would imagine fish eggs to taste like. So, what does caviar taste like? The answer is simple — delicious! — but it's also complicated.
This delicacy comes from a fish, it is NOT (or shouldn’t be) super fishy. It will always have a mild fishiness and slight saltiness, but the taste of caviar is more like ocean water, rather than in-your-face fish. This of course depends on the quality of the product, but the best kind is mild and fresh, with no pronounced intensity, and rather a buttery richness that is wholly unexpected. If it’s very fishy and very salty, then it’s not great quality.
It also has a wonderful texture. The beads roll in your tongue and slide through the roof of your mouth, firm, each bead distinct from the next, with little to no mushiness. It is smooth but has no overwhelming oiliness to it and it has a wonderful pop once you bite into the eggs, releasing a burst of flavor.
The best caviars, like Osetra and Sevruga caviar, are often described as buttery with nutty flavors. However, the flavor profile will vary greatly from tin to tin. Factors that can influence flavor are the species of the sturgeon, where it comes from, the quality of the water where it swims, the food it eats, and even its age – older, more mature sturgeon produces the best caviar.
This is a rich, calorie-dense food that’s a good source of protein, Vitamins A, B12, B6, C and D. It’s also rich in Magnesium and Iron, Selenium and Calcium, with a good amount of amino acids like lysine, plus loads of anti-inflammatory Omega-3 thrown in for good measure, which makes the health benefits of eating caviar many and wide.
So, if it sounds like caviar is good for your health, it’s because it is! Of course, there are cons with all these benefits, and the caveat to the wonderful nutritional properties of caviar is that it’s also very high in cholesterol and sodium, so there can be too much of a good thing and you should limit portions.
Caviar and Pregnancy
Eating caviar while pregnant is a controversial topic. Fish eggs in general have a risk of containing listeria, a bacterium that’s dangerous to the unborn baby. Because malossol –lightly salted - caviars are not pasteurized, the risk of listeria exists, and pregnant women should avoid consuming raw fish eggs, unless it’s pasteurized (some versions exist, but they’re not as good as the malossol variety). The risks are very low; so, if you’re pregnant and feel like indulging in a bit of luxury, make sure to talk to your doctor.