Caviar and the reason for its cost
THE REASON FOR THE PRICE OF CAVIAR
Sturgeon eggs, since the beginning of their existence on the planet, have been classified as a forbidden dish for a large number of pockets, but it is not always unattainable.
Ignorance of the delicacy and the feeling that it is an elegant, high-class product has caused many people not to even ask what the price of caviar is.
To talk about caviar is to make it the most exquisite mouthful that gastronomy can offer. Of course, there are categories and, within these, some caviars are more exclusive than others.
We should not forget that the price of caviar is determined by two main factors: the quality and the scarcity of the product. If it has an excellent quality and is scarce, the amount will be higher being only within reach of the most privileged pockets. At Caviar Sos we know that caviar has always been labelled as a prohibitive dish and we have come to break with this premise.
The area around the Caspian Sea is the area par excellence for obtaining the most exclusive caviar. The usual prices for a more than excellent product are between 1,000 and 10,000 euros per kilogram. The price difference is related to factors such as the origin, the type of sturgeon or the way it is raised. As far as origin is concerned, Iranian and Russian are the most widely recognised because of their geographical location.
The breeding is also very important when making an assessment. There are big differences between the wild and the so-called cultured. The environment in freedom and the natural feeding favour the correct texture and the exquisite flavour of the roe. The most economical caviar comes from fish such as lumpfish, trout, salmon or cod. It is even possible to find it from echinoderms, such as sea urchin. These can be obtained in large quantities, which lowers their price to the point of making them affordable for almost all pockets.
The quality of this type of caviar is not necessarily bad, as it is rich and nutritious, but in no way can it be considered to be of high quality. Its usual price ranges from 10 to 150 euros per kilo.
The most expensive caviar is that which comes from sturgeon. The places where these fish are usually found are the rivers and lakes of Eastern Europe. They can also be found in some parts of Asia.
The species also has a strong influence on price. For example, from the Acipenser stellatus, a slim-bodied sturgeon, is obtained the so-called Sevruga Caviar or also called Aristocrat Caviar. It is a very aromatic snack that is highly valued in the world of gourmet foods.
Another of the most highly valued species is that obtained from Acipenser Gueldenstaedtii Colchicus, the so-called Osetra Caviar. This genus reaches dimensions of two metres and up to 80 kilograms in weight. The roe is dark amber in colour, around 2 millimetres in size and with a unique texture, loose and unattached to each other. It is one of the varieties most used on the tables of the great Iranian personalities and one of the most recognised worldwide.
The most highly valued in this category is the Beluga sturgeon, which weighs up to 300 kilos, although in exceptional cases it can exceed this figure, reaching around 1000 kilos. The roe is grey in colour, the lighter ones being the most highly valued.
The size of each one is around 2.5-3 millimetres, which makes them the largest roe. The taste is mild and complex, it goes without saying that we are talking about an exclusive product, only within the reach of the most affluent economies.
A final factor to take into account when it comes to the economic value of caviar is its preparation. Once the eggs have been extracted, they must be salted and packaged. The salt used and the quantity used make the product more expensive or cheaper. Below 5% salt is considered to be of excellent quality. From then on it loses value, although it continues to be highly appreciated.
The first important attribute in calculating the cost of caviar is often overlooked, and that is the gestation period for sturgeons. While, depending on the species, it takes two to four years for a salmon to reproduce, it takes sturgeons eight times longer to reproduce, recording somewhere between 15 and 20 years before the first spawning.
The second reason for their high price is their scarcity. During the 19th century, caviar became very popular, which led to overfishing and the extinction of the various species of sturgeon. This led to a government ban on wild sturgeon fishing.
Despite the ban, people continued to demand caviar. So sturgeon farms began to spring up around the world, but this new system of cultivated caviar brought with it a completely different set of costs: the cost of providing clean water and an ideal habitat for the fish, as well as the cost of providing food and treatment if the fish became sick. In the end, the high price is to compensate for the high cost of production.
What is the most expensive caviar?
The answer is clear, it is Caviar Almas. It has a curious origin, as it comes from a rare type of sturgeon, the albino beluga sturgeon. It is a fish with a genetic disorder that affects the animal's melanin. This results in its eggs being white in colour, totally unique.
The fact that there are very few specimens and they are on the verge of extinction makes the product considerably more expensive. How much does it cost? One kilo can cost up to 20,000 euros. Such is its value that it is presented in 24-carat gold-plated containers. There is a reason why it is called "Almas", a Russian word that translates as "diamond".
The price of eating caviar
The price of caviar must be added to the price of cutlery. To fully enjoy the flavour of this wonderful product, you must use the special utensils designed for this purpose. Using earthenware, porcelain or metal can negatively alter the taste of the roe. To taste this food correctly, you must use the best quality glass, mother-of-pearl or mother-of-pearl.
To accompany it, the usual is French champagne or Russian iced vodka, of course, of a quality similar to that of the caviar you are enjoying.
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