Last weekend, PartySugar and I spent most of our time eating and drinking at the Winter Fancy Foods Show, the largest food show in North America. With more than 250,000 food and beverage products on display, one could say that perhaps I bit off a little more than I could chew.
We tasted wine, cheese, meat, and everything else you can think of (more on that later!), but one of the biggest highlights had to be learning more about caviar from the pros. I turned to Ali Bolourchi and Michael Kupfer of Pacific Plaza Imports, a California-based caviar importer, to get some tips. To find out how to serve, taste, and enjoy caviar,
- What to buy: True caviar, the most prized (and therefore expensive!) is from Russian sturgeon. However, if you've never tasted caviar, American sturgeon is a great starting point, and only costs $20 to $25 an ounce — a fraction of the cost of the real thing. Also, know what it is that you're tasting: Neither red caviar or salmon roe is technically caviar. Genuine caviar falls under three categories: beluga, osetra, and sevruga.
- How to taste: The best caviar should be devoid of smell, and should taste clean, buttery, and not too salty. The eggs should have a nice pop to them, and shouldn't be soupy or sticky.
- How to serve: Buy a mother-of-pearl spoon to scoop the caviar, as metal imparts an unwanted flavor to the eggs. Each taste should contain a gram or two of caviar. Serve on a toast point, canapé, or blini, with smoked salmon, creme fraîche, lemon, and chive.
- If you truly want to taste the pure flavor of caviar, serve the caviar solo on the nook of the hand between the index finger and thumb.
Of course, I couldn't learn fully without experiencing the taste of caviar. Michael served DeSietra Farms Siberian sturgeon caviar that was sustainably farmed in Germany. It was not fishy at all, and subtly briny, with a nutty finish — the perfect way to end a lesson about caviar.
Are you a fan of the delicacy? What are your favorite ways to enjoy it?