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THE BLACK GOLD GUIDE

Caviar, the indulgent delicacy, is one of the most highly sought after in the world. Here's how to tell the difference between the different types of caviar and become a true-blue epicurean.

JESSICA HALL

 

Whether it serves atop blinis and crème fraiche or decadent garnish on canapes and other fancy dishes, feasting on caviar has long been one of the highlights of dining out at a fine restaurant. As more people look to stay indoors due to obvious reasons, we wanted to share how to get your fix of this "black gold."

Many companies are aiming to make high-quality, sustainably-sourced caviar more easily accessible. A delicious variety is available via websites such as www.californiacaviar. com and www.pearlstreetcaviar.com. Now that you can have the decant delicacy delivered to your front door, we're inviting everyone to try one of the world's most nutritious foods.

Here is a tasting guide on the five different types of caviar to get you started on your caviar appreciation journey:

Kaluga

Also known as river beluga, this is considered one of the most precious and expensive – types of caviar today as it is regarded as the closest substitute for the highly prized wild beluga. Beluga and other wildcaught sturgeon from the Caspian Sea are now banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) because of overfishing.

Hue: Varies from a dark grey to black, depending on the age of the sturgeon.Taste profile: The luscious black pearls deliver a nutty, savory mouthfeel with umami notes of seaweed. With subtle hints of bitterness, this elegant caviar possesses a long, balanced finish.

Russian

Known as Osetra, Ossetra, or Oscietra caviar, is the second most valued caviar in the market. The Russian sturgeon is typically found in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov ad e Caspian Sea.

Hue: The grains have a slight brown-bronze color.

Taste profile: The Russian caviar pearls have a rich flavor of buttery-creamy notes, a subtle briny finish, and hints of green olives.

Russian Hybrid

Created by mating the female Osetra sturgeon with a male Siberian sturgeon, the Russian Hybrid is a caviar Colony exclusive and cannot be found elsewhere in the world. The first batch of Russian Hybrid was launched last year but has already received widespread acclaim by chefs for its pleasant flavor.

Hue: The grains vary from dark grey to golden brown.

Taste profile: The glistening pearls offer the distinctive sweetness of Japanese Kyushu grapes with a nutty and creamy finish for a wellbalanced flavor profile.

Amur

The Amur river sturgeon, which originates from China's Heilongjiang province, has been farmed for over two decades and is another popular choice among consumers for its subtle, creamy flavors.

Hue: The grains range from light to dark brown color, even yellow or gold, with a tint of green.

Taste profile: The Amur caviar has a nutty and light, buttery flavor with a long, briny finish.

 

Kaluga Hybrid

For those who are new to caviar, the Kaluga Hybrid is recommended as a good "starter" caviar for its gentle flavor. A crossbreed of the female Kaluga and male Amur, this Hybrid is available at only two farms in the world.

Hue: A slight green tinge on the brown pearls.

Taste profile: A mild, earthy flavor with hints of mushroom, a gentle tang, and a slightly bitter finish.

How to Best Enjoy Your Caviar at Home

Caviar connoisseurs prefer to eat them neat to appreciate the flavor and mouthfeel of each grain fully. Use a mother of pearl spoon – never metal as it impairs the taste – to scoop caviar directly out of the tin. Caviar pairs well with white wines like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne. Or wash down your caviar the way Russians do, with a shot of crisp, cold Vodka. Once a tin of caviar is open, it should ideally be consumed within 24 and 48 hours of opening. It should be stored in a refrigerator but never frozen as the extreme cold of a freezer will destroy the quality and taste of the pearls.

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