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Useful information for buying caviar - and enjoying caviar

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WILD CAVIAR

Wild caviar (as opposed to farmed caviar) is still what most consumers associate with luxury and refinment.

When shopping for wild caviar, you're likely to come across three different varieties:

  • Beluga Caviar
  • Oscietra (also known as Osetra or Ossetra Caviar)
  • Sevruga Caviar
    • (Q) Question: Which one is better? Which one should I buy?

      These are questions commonly posed buy those who are new to the world of luxury caviar. The answer is simple: "it depends"

      Beluga, Oscietra and Sevruga caviars have distinct characteristics in flavour, size, texture and, of course, price.

      Most caviar connoisseurs have a clear personal preference. Some prefer Beluga Caviar, because of its delicate taste and larger tender eggs, while others may prefer Sevruga Caviar, due to its more pronounced flavour and smaller eggs. The peculiarity of Osietra's flavour, however, means it's the only caviar of choice for some.

      There is no consensus on which caviar variety is better and it quite simply is a matter of personal taste. It's akin to asking a wine lover which grape is best - he/she would be unlikely to provide you with an unequivocal answer.

      However, if your question relates to caviar price, then yes there are some clear answers for you. Beluga Caviar is still the most expensive of these three varieties and, consequently, instinctively preferred by many (especially those who simply wish to impress).

      Our suggestion to resolving the question of which is best, is to simply try them all and find out for yourself. This is best done by purchasing the smallest containers of each variety (usually 25g or 50g). A nice idea is to try them at home with your special someone and have a caviar tasting theme to your evening. This is the only way you'll truly find out which caviar is best for you.

      So, to recap, there are three wild caviar varieties you're likely to come across in gourmet stores. While Beluga Caviar is the most expensive, many people actually prefer Sevruga Caviar or Oscietra Caviar. They're all different from each other and which you prefer is very much a question of personal taste.

      These three caviar varieties are all produced by the Sturgeon fish and, below, you'll find details of each of these Sturgeon varieties:

      Beluga (Huso huso)

      The Beluga Sturgeon is the largest of all sturgeon fish. It can reach a weight of up to 600kg and a length of up to 6 meters. Female Beluga reach maturity at 25 years of age. It mainly inhabits the Caspian, Adriatic and Black seas.

      Oscietra (alt spellings: Osetra, Osscietre)

      Eventhough people often refer to the "Oscietra Sturgeon", there really isn't any such fish. Oscietra Caviar actually comes from a number of different sturgeon species which produce similar eggs. This is one of the reasons for there being such diversity in colour and size of this type of caviar. Generally, though, Oscietra Caviar comes from the Russian Sturgeon (Asipenser Gueldenstaedtii)

      Sevruga

      Sevruga Sturgeon reach a size of only 1.5 meters in length and, at most, a weight of 25kg. Maturity is also reached at a younger stage than its larger cousin, at only approximately 8 years of age. It mainly inhabits the Caspian, Azov and Black seas.

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