What Is Caviar? Learn All About Caviar, Where It Comes From, and How to Serve It

If there’s one food that’s associated with pure luxury, it’s caviar. This delicacy of sturgeon fish eggs is rare and expensive and considered a coveted item in the culinary world. Caviar comes from several species of sturgeon, but beluga caviar is the largest, rarest, and the most expensive caviar. At close to $3,500 per pound, it deserves its nickname, “black gold.”

What Is Caviar?

Caviar is unfertilized fish eggs, also known as fish roe. It is a salty delicacy, served cold. True caviar comes from wild sturgeon, which belong to the Acipenseridae family. While the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea produced much of the world’s caviar for a long time, farm-produced caviar has now become popular as wild sturgeon populations have been depleted from overfishing.

How Is Caviar Harvested?

The highest quality caviar comes from eggs harvested as the females prepare to spawn. In the wild, sturgeon are caught as they move from saltwater to fresh tributaries to lay their eggs. In fish farms, sturgeon will be monitored through ultrasound to determine when their eggs are ready for harvesting. Depending on the size of the fish, a sturgeon can release several million eggs at once.

What Are the Characteristics of Caviar?

Every type of caviar has its own unique qualities, from coloring to flavor. For example, Beluga caviar is smooth and buttery with a nutty flavor that’s close to hazelnut.