You don’t have to be an expert to buy real caviar. It is enough to know a few of its main characteristics and when choosing to be guided only by them, without being tempted by low prices. We decided to make it easier for potential buyers and together with them figure out which black caviar is the best.
Types of fish from which caviar was obtained
Beluga. Beluga caviar is in the first place in terms of taste and nutritional value. The fish itself can weigh up to 400 kg, while caviar accounts for up to 25% of the total weight, but spawning does not occur every year. The eggs of the beluga are quite large, up to 3.5 mm, black, silver, dark gray, or even platinum in color. Caviar is distinguished by its exquisite delicate taste with a nutty aftertaste.
Sturgeon. Sturgeon caviar has smaller eggs, up to 2 mm. Caviar color – gray, brown or slightly yellowish, dark bronze, black. The taste of caviar is sharper than that of beluga, it clearly shows hints of sea and iodine, sometimes there is also a nutty aftertaste.
Some farms also receive caviar from sturgeon hybrids. In terms of quality, it is in no way inferior to traditional types.
Sturgeons live long, for example, beluga can live up to 100 years. Moreover, the older the fish, the more valuable and tasty its caviar is. Young individuals under 20 years old give caviar of rich black color, after 45 years the color of the caviar changes, it becomes gray. And after 85 years, the female lays eggs of a light shade with a golden tint. Accordingly, the price of caviar from “mature” fish is higher than from young ones. The most expensive caviar is “golden”, from almost a century-old beluga.
How to distinguish real black caviar from fake?
The sale of black caviar in our country is such a lucrative business that some dishonest traders do not hesitate to deceive buyers. Under the guise of black caviar, they offer imitation or even artificial caviar made from seaweed at the price of beluga or sturgeon. For imitation, the caviar of pike, cod, capelin, or halibut dyed with food dyes is often used. And it’s half the trouble if such caviar is sold at an appropriate price, much worse if the buyer pays for the counterfeit as for real sturgeon caviar while receiving a product that is far from the quality that he expected.
It is extremely dangerous to buy poached caviar as well. Compared to the products of aquaculture farms, such caviar is an environmentally unfriendly product. The fact is that the sturgeon belongs to bottom fish, it feeds at the very bottom, where industrial waste, toxins, and other harmful substances can accumulate. In addition, poachers add harsh preservatives to caviar, for example, boric acid which violates the transportation conditions and temperature storage conditions.
Avoid mistakes when buying
Caviar appearance. Real sturgeon caviar has a characteristic color and size of eggs. If the caviar is of an even black color without shades, it may be artificial caviar. Another sign of artificial caviar is a white coating on the surface.
To determine the authenticity of caviar, place a few grains of it in a container of hot water. If they become soft or dissolve, this is artificial caviar made from gelatin and algae. If the water is colored, you bought colored caviar of another fish. Real sturgeon caviar does not lose color and does not dissolve in water. If you pour boiling water over it, it will practically cook and become dense. The artificial caviar will soften and simply burst when pressed.
Pay attention to the density of caviar in the package – when the can is tilted, it should not slide down the walls or lie in a sticky lump.
Taste and smell. Real caviar has practically no fish smell, but it has a subtle, subtle aroma of the sea. Only very few people are able to grasp it. If the caviar has a pronounced fishy smell, this is probably a fake or a sign that the caviar is spoiled. The taste of sturgeon caviar is very delicate, with nutty-creamy notes, sometimes with a slight bitterness. The presence of pronounced bitterness is unacceptable, this may indicate that harmful preservatives have been added to the product, and such caviar should not be eaten at all. An excess of salt is also a bad sign, most likely, such a “delicacy” was prepared in violation of the technology or with the expectation of very long storage.
Container and documents. Legal black caviar is sold in tin and glass jars. Glass containers allow you to immediately visually assess the type of caviar, color, grain size. Checking the quality of caviar in a tin can is a little more difficult, but the method is still working. Shake the jar – if the caviar “dangles” in it or it feels like there is too much liquid in the jar, it is better not to buy such caviar.
You also need to pay attention to the relevant documentation. Conscientious manufacturers always provide a declaration of conformity for the product, it can be required at any point of sale. The documents must indicate that the caviar is produced legally in an aquaculture farm and has a CITES permit.
Price. Real sturgeon caviar cannot be cheap. Its production is a very costly and laborious process. The sturgeon grows very slowly, and it is necessary to make a lot of efforts to raise a healthy mature individual before obtaining eggs. Cheap caviar is almost certainly a fake or illegally obtained product.
Where to buy caviar?
Black caviar is an expensive product, so spending a lot of money and not getting what you expect is a shame. Don’t buy caviar from questionable outlets. With a high degree of probability, we can say that it will be either imitation or artificial caviar. Real caviar is sold in well-known retail chains that value their image and reputation, they always have documents for the goods, so the probability of buying fake or low-quality caviar is relatively small.
OLMA Caviar is a major producer of the finest caviar on the market since 2001. We are passionate about delivering exceptional quality products to individual consumers, restaurants, venues, and grocery chains. Whatever is your budget is, you can be sure that OLMA Caviar will deliver the great taste you are looking for at affordable prices!