Caviar. It is the product that is made from the sturgeon roe (a species native to the rivers and lakes of eastern Europe and central Asia ) that is destined for human consumption. Of the twenty existing varieties of sturgeon, three of which they can be captured in the Caspian Sea : beluga , Ossetra , Sevruga . The price of caviar is reflected in the rarity or availability of sturgeon.
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- 1 Story
- 2 Importance
- 3 types of caviar
- 1 Beluga caviar
- 2 Osetra caviar
- 3 Sevruga caviar
- 4 Pressed caviar
- 5 Caviar Souls
- 4 Nutritional value
- 5 Sources
The Russians learned to make caviar as early as the 12th century . Sturgeon from ancient times was considered a noble and highly consumed fish . The humble fishermen sold the sturgeon and were left alone with the offal of the fish . Among them the roe, which they salted, wrapped in a cloth and found on the seashore (a very old method used to conserve fish, to this day Russian amateur fishermen use the same procedure). They did not know it, but the lands that bathe the Caspian Sea are very rich in borax and this is a magnificent preservative, so much so that nowadays this compound is added for its preservation.
Little by little, these “spoils” became popular, becoming a delicacy appreciated at the tables of the nobility, reaching the table of the Czars , and then spreading to become a jewel that should not be missing from traditional Russian tables.
A failed attempt to bring him to the Western royal tables is known: A diplomatic “incident” starring the French King Louis XV , which was gifted by the Russian ambassador, and on behalf of Tsar Peter the Great, with caviar; when tasting a tablespoon, he had a fit of nausea and threw, spitting violently, the precious caviar on the carpets of his palace in Versailles .
It could not have had a worse beginning and perhaps for this reason it went unnoticed by the entire civilization of the west. However, later, after the French revolution and with the “invasion” of French chefs in the kitchens of Russian high society, it was gradually adapted and recognized by European chefs. But worldwide fame only comes in the 20th century .
The history of caviar is closely linked to the Petrosian family
The Petrossian family in times of the Tsar were engaged in oil exploration and fishing in Baku, near the mouth of the Kura from where they had to flee when the Russian revolution broke out, like thousands of other Russian aristocrats and nobles had no choice but to emigrate and Like almost all the wealthy and aristocratic, Paris was his new home and land of promise. Two children of this family, the brothers Melkon and Mougcheg who lived in the crazy years of a Paris of champagne, Charleston and all the new artistic tendencies observed with amazement that in parties and saraos of a certain lineage something was missing and of course, that something, it was nothing more than something deeply rooted in Russian noble society, caviar.
Thinking of the great business that this could entail, they did not hesitate a minute to pick up the phone and called their former Russia, now called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and contacted the Ministry of Foreign Trade and there was a double surprise. Russiaat that time it was economically isolated from the countries of the west for fear that the revolution would be exported to the rest of the world, the inflows of foreign exchange, so important for the acquisition of basic products, such as wheat, were almost nil, of there the surprise when receiving the order, there was caviar in abundance that nobody knew what to do with it and the Petrossian brothers took advantage of that, they got the exclusive one that they still keep, they, their company, that of their heirs, manage the sixty-three percent of world consumption and they were the only ones with the right to choose the appropriate production and charter it on airplanes.
I think it was the best time to enter the European market with a new and exotic product. It was a period of heyday for Russian culture. Dostoevskiy and Tolstoy were the true “best sellers”; Rajmáninov, Diáguilev and Lifar were the “heroes of the time”; Natalia Goncharova’s paintings were exhibited in the best galleries in Paris .
Snobs and millionaires were the preferred customers, it was so expensive that it gave them status, but the Petrossian brothers wanted to go further and wanted to popularize this delicacy, that’s why at the Grand Paláis Food Exhibition they set up a stand where they gave away the tastings caviar and again the surprise arose, the flat people did as their former king Louis XV, spat out the roe grains and disgusted them, so they had to fill all the surroundings of the enclosure with spittoons, but despite all this ended up being a success.
Since then it can be said that this delicacy is the undisputed king of good food. But it was the billionaire Charles Ritz who consolidated the consumption of caviar among haute cuisine, by including caviar among the favorite dishes prepared by the Gourmet chefs at their prestigious hotels.
Caviar is considered worldwide a refined delicacy and coveted by gourmets, constituting one of the luxury symbols of the most sophisticated traditional gastronomy. It is known for its elegant character, ideal for celebrations, and its high price provided a certain status.
Exquisite, rich and luxurious snacks from Caspian caviar, capturing the essence of the sea . Nothing can be compared to these ” pearls “, with the ease with which they bring our senses to sublime pleasure, opening the doors of paradise to the Epicureans. In Russia , banquets could not be conceived without the caviar that was compulsory in the table’s place of honor. However, there is a lot of confusion about caviar. Due to its high price, it is a product that is inaccessible to many mortals.
The marketing applies the same name for more economic species roe (this name can only carry roe of sturgeon species: Beluga, Osetra, Sevruga, Sterlyad), trying to approach this product calling – ersatz caviar , although they have nothing in common, neither its size, nor its color, nor its aroma , much less its flavor.
Types of caviar
Beluga (Scientific name: Huso-huso). A fish that can reach 6 m. long and weigh 1400 kg. He reaches the age of 140 years. Its normal weight is 40 to 300 kilos and the amount of caviar that is obtained corresponds to 15% of its weight.
This is the best caviar, of course the most expensive. It is highly appreciated for the size of the pearls from 3 to 4 mm. Smooth and delicate texture, smooth and buttery, its color varies from light gray, almost transparent to dark gray. Its persistence in the mouth gives this caviar a “unique” flavor. It is packed in blue cans. Those labeled “Royal” have the selected grains of a larger size and light gray color.
Osetra (Scientific name: Acipenser Gueldenstaedtii) .It measures 2 meters. long and weigh 100 kg. He reaches the age of 60 years. His Caviar: the size is slightly smaller than that of the Beluga, from 2.5 to 3 mm. diameter. It is characterized by its mild nutty flavor and subtle iodine aroma , with a very firm texture and a long finish in the mouth .
Its color is divided into:
- Dark gray to light-greenish gray. (Osetra caviar)
- Color dark amber to translucent amber almost gold. (Imperial Caviar from Osetra) They have no difference in taste, but in price. The Imperial Osetra does not reach 1% of the total production, therefore it becomes a rarity. It is packaged in a yellow can.
Sevruga (Scientific name: Acipenser Slellatus) – Reaches 1.5 mts. long, and an average weight of 30 – 40 kg. His average age is 30 years. It is the most widespread of the sturgeon family. It is calculated that half of the caviar production is obtained from Sevruga. That is why it is the cheapest of the three, but not the worst. Its roe are small, measuring between 2 and 2.5 mm. diameter. Light gray to dark gray. Salty-marine flavor, accentuated and prolonged, with a hint of hazelnuts . It is marketed in red cans.
It is the oldest technique to preserve caviar. Currently it is made with caviar that was damaged in the shelving process, using the mixture of the three mentioned above. Its flavor is very intense, salty, and strong. It is drier than the previous ones. However, it is considered a delicacy due to its concentrated flavor, (to prepare 1 kg. You need 1.8 kg. Of caviar). It is divided into gray cans.
Souls – means Diamond (translation from Russian). This caviar comes from the Beluga – albino (genetic disorder that manifests itself in the absence of melanin – chemical substance responsible for normal coloration). It is extremely rare. Its color is light yellow , almost transparent. Smooth and elegant flavor. It is packed in 24 karat gold cans .
Caviar of Souls
Prices vary according to country of origin, state (wild or captive), pearl size, color, transparency, perfume and, of course, flavor.
Caviar is a good source of energy and provides about 250 calories per 100 grams. Its protein content is high; 29 grams per 100 grams, as well as fat; 13 grams per 100 grams. It provides extraordinary amounts of vitamin A -560 mcg of Eq retinol- and D -5.8 mcg / 100 g-. Among the minerals, sodium -814 mg per 100 grams-, potassium , phosphorus and calcium stand out . It is also a food with a high cholesterol content (440 milligrams per 100 grams).
However, its contribution to the diet is not significant since caviar is consumed occasionally and when you are lucky enough to taste it, it is made in very small portions. Regarding caviar substitutes, they have fewer calories and proteins and, in general, fewer nutrients. However, its sodium content is more than double that of caviar, specifically they contain around 1,500 milligrams per 100 grams.