Caviar is simply the roe (Internal eggs) of a female sturgeon fish.
The meal is a prestigious international delicacy that is sold commercially across the world. When people hear of caviar, they always think about the sturgeon caviar. The caviar is usually associated with class and luxury because it was a popular meal that was enjoyed by the Russian elites.
Due to the rampant fishing of the sturgeon in Russian and US waters, the population of the sturgeon fish has dropped significantly.
The drop in the population is the main reason that is attributed to the high prices of caviar in restaurants.
Origin of Caviar
Caviar was first introduced in Russia by the Volga River fishermen who referred to the sturgeon fish as “beautiful fish”. In the 19th century, the Russian caviar was considered a luxurious meal that made a grand entry into the international market. During this period, Iran set up several companies that produced high-standard caviar.
As time went by, other types of caviar, such as the gourmet caviar, spread to most countries in Europe and were adopted and appreciated by most European cultures. Notably, the Caspian Sea, which is believed to be the first place where sturgeons were fished on a large scale is bordered by Russia and Iran. History has recorded that the two countries started the commercial caviar business.
Caviar in the USA
A German immigrant named Henry Schacht was the first one to commercialize the caviar business in the USA in 1873. Before this, caviar was sold in the USA restaurants like any other meal at a standard cost. Henry Schacht created the first caviar company to sell caviar to different countries across the world.
Most of the fishes that were used to produce the caviar were fished from River Delaware, New Jersey where there was a large population of sturgeon. By the 19th century, the USA was the world’s leading producer of caviar. The caviar was exported to Russia then re-imported back to the USA as “Russian caviar”.
How the USA Became a Leading Producer of Caviar
1. Sturgeons are almost becoming extinct in the Caspian Sea, and this has made the USA dominate the caviar market because of the large populations of sturgeons in several American rivers.
2. Political wars and civil turmoil in Russia and Iran have also paved the way for the USA to take charge of the caviar market.
3. The USA has been producing other caviar alternatives such as hackleback caviar, salmon caviar, and lumpfish caviar, which have high acceptance in the USA market.
– However, the dominance of the USA has also been adversely affected by the recent decrease in the sturgeon species in the USA water bodies.
Use of Caviar
The best caviar is usually salted and eaten while fresh with a non-metallic spoon. Besides the sturgeon, other varieties are popular in the American and global market. They include Kaluga hybrid, Sterlet, Beluga, Ossetra, and American Osetra caviars. Caviar is mostly enjoyed during holidays and feasts such as weddings. In Japan and Hong Kong, for instance, caviar is served in sushi, which is not so expensive.
It is essential to understand that the prices of caviar have dropped significantly because of emerging aquacultural activities in the USA and across the world.
To summarize, understanding the growth and development of the sturgeon caviar among other varieties is critical at helping us appreciate and value the luxurious caviar delicacy.