Caspian sea or also called Qazun in the ancient map is the largest body of water on earth by area . it is bounded by Northern Iran, Kazakstan , South Russian, Western Kazakstan, Turkmenistan and Western Azerbaijan. The Caspian sea holds a large number of sturgeon fish priced for their eggs called Caviar. The sturgeon fish reaches maturity between age of 15-20 years and can live up to 100 years.
There are 20 varieties of sturgeon, 6 varieties inhabits the caspian sea and 3 produces the 3 most sought for caviar. The 3 types of caviar are the Beluga, Sevruga and 0ssetra. In 2005 , the US banned importation of caviar . The highbrow clientile did everything in their power to undo this act . In 2007 ,the United Nations lifted the ban. For what kind of New Year celebration will there be without caviar to celebrate it with!. The bad news is the supply of caviar from the caspian sea is dwindling,which means the cost will escalate, but I am sure the feast will go on irregardless. There is also news that the oil beneath the Caspian sea is worth over 12 trillion dollars. Drilling the oil will disturb the sturgeon fish habitat. The question that is still unanswered is: will the countries involved vote to keep the sturgeon or mine the oil.?
According to caviar afecionados,the best tasting caviar comes from Iran. The beluga caviar is the most expensive of all caviar and can fetch a price from $75.00 to over $100 an ounce. The Russian caviar ranks next to Iran. Iranian tourist are allowed to bring 2 kilos of caviar when visiting the US . I had the privileged of eating this scrumptious delicacy from a Persian friend and I agree, the Iranian beluga caviar is the tastiest of all, but the other varieties are too, they are not as black and big as the beluga, but they are packed with intense flavor and marine aroma , sought for by afecionados.
The one ounce bottled caviar from the grocery store is not descriptive of the taste of the real caviar. People who claim they do not like caviar must have been served this type of caviar, which is usually a heavily salted lumpfish roe. The heavy salting acts as a preservative to make the fish roes shelf safe. In France, the term caviar only refers to the roe of the sturgeon fish. In the US, caviar refers to the fish roe from the following fishes: salmon,paddle fish,flying fish,lumpfish and american golden white fish . I had eaten the salmon roe which cost between $40-50 a pound and is quite delectable. Caviar is salted to preserve the roe from spoilage, malossol refers to the degree of saltiness of caviar. Pressed caviar is the thick jammy residue of eggs that were broken during processing. It has very intense flavor that is a bit of an aquired taste. Serve it with sour cream,chopped eggs and chive over blini and it is a match made in heaven. This is how I was introduced to caviar.
The Russian Tea Room in New York City use to serve a ton of caviar annually. It is a shame that it is now closed. According to Bruce Sobol of Caviarteria, “caviar is the only food with no known threshold of excess , a spoonful maybe enough,but a bowl is not too much”. If you suffer from hypertension, stir away from caviar, as it is salty. Caviar has 47 vitamins and minerals. An ounce of caviar provides 74 calories or 1,188 calories per pound, 68 grams of fat, and 25% cholesterol.