Caviar is one of the great delicacies of Western gastronomy. While not to everyone’s taste, most caviar shares a few common attributes: it is salty, has a fishy flavor, and has a textural component which consists of a thin skin which pops under the pressure of a bite. How thick the skin, how large the spheres and how fishy the flavor are all variables dependent upon the caviar type.
It is used in various dishes, typically as an additive component which plays well against the flavors already on the plate; it is also enjoyed by itself, with crackers or with toast.
Beluga caviar, the most famous, is banned from export to many countries because the beluga sturgeon from which the eggs are harvested are endangered. This has resulted in a variety of other fish eggs being marketed as caviar, with the most popular “alternative” being salmon.
Are they truly caviar? Raise the question in the midst of a group of declared “foodies” and you’ll likely trigger an interesting debate. One thing they’re not likely to bring up, however, unless they’re familiar with some very specialized restaurants in France and the UK? White caviar.
Introduced to France in the mid-1980s by entrepreneur Alain Chatillon after a trip to Tibet, the variant caviar was slow to develop a following. This may be because of the price… often selling for thousands of dollars a pound… or it may be because it’s derived from snails.
I hope nobody minds if I leave that one to the Food Network and Travel Channel hosts.
Question of the night: What is a food you reluctantly tried… and liked?