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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Caviar Appreciation 101: Well, if you're absolutely out of Beluga...

The Caviar Trinity, Plus One

Ah Beluga... Still considered the world over to be the most precious of all culinary jewels of the sea. And indeed it is, but its situation is no longer all glamour and glitz. Keeping up appearances is important and has its place, but Beluga, while the most valuable and carefully harvested type of caviar is quickly becoming the stuff dreams are made of. But first a little background.

Beluga is a Russian word that means 'white' and refers to one of the rarest types of Sturgeon that inhabit the Caspian Sea, along with the Oscetra, Sevruga, and the extremely rare Sterlet, which some strict caviar purists place at the tippity top of the caviar class. Officially, there really is no 'best' caviar. However, the delicacy does fall under different grades or classes. Indeed, by law, only Beluga, Oscetra and Sevruga roe can be refered to as 'caviar'. All other types of roe must be preceded by the type of fish of which it originates (ie., paddlefish caviar, salmon roe, ikura). Russian Beluga and related Caspian-based types caviar are unavaliable in the US. Due to over harvesting, illegal poaching, pollution and other issues, extemely strict export limitations of 'caviar' have been put in place. So for the moment the thought of dining with the gods is dream deferred, so to speak. So if anyone claims to have it, keep one eye open...

About Sturgeon and the Caviar they produce

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