A wealthy Jew invited a beggar to lunch. And the poor man saw for the first time in his life caviar. He tried it and he liked it. And he kept reaching for it using a teaspoon.
— This is really good! — The beggar said enthusiastically.
— It is really good, but it is also very expensive! — Replied the rich man.
– It could be expensive, but it is worth the money!
Black Caviar is a luxury that definitely requires a thick wallet. Caviar comes from the sturgeon (beluga), the Russian sturgeon (ossetra), the trout (sevruga) and the sterlet that inhabit the Caspian and the Black Seas and the rivers flowing into them. In the beginning, people, of course, did not eat it as a delicacy. It was just available food. Those who extract it today, have to undergo 10-15 years of apprenticeship before becoming full-fledged professionals.
The ancient Persians were the first to cultivate and salt the black caviar, and from their word “khag-viar”, which means “small black eggs” originated its Latin name. However, the credit for its conversion into a luxury commodity goes to the Russian tsars. It was Aristotle who described the feasts in Ancient Greece where the black caviar was served to the guests accompanied by fanfares, trumpets and flowers. In the middle Ages, caviar was already well known among the wealthy royal families of Europe. In 1324, the English King Edward II even issued a Decree, by which the sturgeon became a “royal fish” and only those belonging to the Court had the right to eat it. This tradition remains in force until today – all the fish of this family inhabiting the shores of Great Britain are owned by the Queen. When the Russian aristocracy developed a taste for the “black gold” in the middle of the 19th century, the countries bordering the Caspian Sea began to breed the sturgeon in order to meet the growing demand. After the Revolution in Russia in 1917, the Communist Party entrusted the trade in caviar to only a few cartels. The meteoric growth in demand led to a staggering price rise, and the mass fishing, water pollution and the construction of dams hindering the movement of the fish to the sea started to threaten the sturgeon from extinction. Thus, in 1998, the Member States of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) prohibited the farming of sturgeon. In 2006, the ban was lifted, and in recent years the supply of black caviar from the Caspian Sea gives way to the caviar supplies from fish farms from all over the world. The trade in “black gold” is no longer only in the hands of Russia and Iran, but is an international business. In my humble opinion, that was the purpose of the ban to begin with.
Black Caviar is an extremely perishable product and should be stored in a refrigerator, but should not be frozen because it will become porous. It is served in glass, or even better – in crystal bowls, nested inside larger bowls filled with ice. It should not be touched with metal or silver utensils because it will acquire metallic taste. It is best to be scooped with a spoon of mother-of-pearl, but as you probably do not have one of those, you can use a spoon made of wood, glass or gold. They say that it is best to eat directly from the upper side of the palm – from the webbing between the thumb and forefinger. They also say that one can “hear” the quality caviar – the sound from the friction of the grains is similar to the purring of a cat. Another sign of its quality are the size and color of the grains – the larger and darker they are, the more mature and of quality they are. It melts in the mouth as it saturates the palate with a rich, salty and slightly sweet taste. It goes with champagne. And love.
The most expensive caviar is the so-called “Almas” (from “elmaz” – the Russian word for diamond), which is extracted from 60-100 year-old sturgeons in the southern part of the Caspian Sea, bordering with Iran. Its price per kilogram is $ 35 000! And in a small Austrian farm is produced the extremely rare type Strottarga Bianco Caviar, which is enriched with 22-carat gold (edible, of course), and which price is higher than that of Porsche 911. We are talking about the Cosmic 100 000 euros!
Well, I leave you here to decide if you want a Porsche or black caviar. And why not both, if you can afford it?