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The History of Caviar

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25 Mar 2021, 08:37 GMT+10

Few foods on earth denote the same level of opulence and luxury that caviar does. With prices going as high as $25,0000 a kilo, caviar is one of the most expensive delicacies around.

But what is caviar exactly? Caviar is salt-cured unfertilized fish eggs from female sturgeons sourced from the Black and Caspian Seas. It is typically eaten as a spread or as a garnish.

Traditionally, harvesting of the fish eggs entailed killing the female sturgeons to retrieve these eggs. Over the years, however, more modern and more humane methods have developed where killing the fish is no longer necessary.

The Birth of Caviar

The earliest account mentioning caviar dates as far back as the 4th century BC when Greek scholar Aristotle described eggs of the sturgeons. Even then, it was associated with opulence and feasting.

The British kings from the Middle Ages continued in this tradition by coveting caviar for their use and consumption. They referred to the sturgeon as 'Royal Fish.'

It was the Persians who first discovered sturgeon eggs. The word 'caviar' is derived from the Persian term 'khav-yar' which translates to 'cake of power' or 'cake of strength' since the Persians associated caviar with several medicinal properties.

China was the first to salt the fish roe before consuming it as they had traditionally followed the same process with carp eggs.

Caviar and Capitalism

During the late 18th century, a German-born immigrant in America named Henry Schacht turned it into a business. It was the only time in history when caviar was not an expensive delicacy. Because of the Delaware River in New Jersey USA, sturgeon fish were plentiful and caviar was served for as little as a dollar per pound. It was easily and widely available for free in saloons. Capitalizing on its salty flavor, saloon owners used it to induce thirst and sell more drinks.

By the time the 19th century rolled around, the US was responsible for 90 percent of the world's supply of caviar. American companies exported caviar throughout the world and would even re-import some of it back to the US by calling it 'Russian Caviar' placing on it a premium as it referred to the caviar that was first produced in Russia before it became widely popular in the United States.

As capitalists profited from caviar's growing popularity, the supply of sturgeon eggs and where to source them soon became a problem. In response, companies began providing eggs sourced from other fish to cater to the ever-increasing demand.

Today, the global caviar market is worth hundreds of millions of US dollars and is expected to be worth at least $1.64 billion by 2025.

Imperia Caviar Distributes Caviar Without the Prohibitive Price Tag

Imperia Caviar, a Los Angeles-based caviar distributor, aims to bring the long and rich history of caviar to the general public at affordable prices without compromise to quality or texture. Imperia Caviar explains how they believe caviar is a luxury that everyone should be able to enjoy. They distribute caviar made from top quality, hand-sorted sturgeon eggs which are sustainably sourced from eco-friendly farms, and delivered to clients for a fraction of the cost.

Out of the 27 sturgeon species from around the world, Imperia has access to two of the best quality caviar: the Kaluga Hybrid Reserve and the Royal Essetra.

The Kaluga Hybrid Reserve with its mild buttery taste and good-sized eggs is perfect for people who are looking to try caviar or are looking to pair it with different food items.

On the other hand, the Royal Essetra is Imperia's most popular high-end caviar. With its bold sea breeze flavor and nutty, briny taste, it is a perfect choice for most food connoisseurs and pairs beautifully with heavy creams, sauces, and meat dishes.

Like many of the finer things in life, caviar can be an acquired taste. It takes an open mind and a discriminating palate to enjoy, but once you gain an appreciation for it, it is difficult to do without.

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