The Food of Kings: Caviar or khavyar
The term caviar elicits such thoughts of affluence and grandeur that even William Shakespeare mentioned it in his Hamlet when he said: “Caviar to the general” meaning trivial since caviar is just a dream to the common people. The word caviar comes from the Turkish word: Khavyar. It was once consumed only by royalties as it was considered a kind of luxurious and extravagant treat. Later, sturgeon (Caviar Fish) was discovered in the US waters in abundance which lead to lowering its prices by exporting to Europe and around the world. Due to that, US was the largest exporter in the world. Another major resource of caviar was in Russia which had been always considered premium. But unfortunately, as it is always with man, sturgeon was over-fished, caused its scarcity in the waters to the point of extinction, the thing which lead to a jump in the prices. As a result, cheap and domestic caviar was sought as a compensation which was found later in salmon roe (Red Caviar), whitefish (Golden Caviar) and lumpfish…etc Sturgeon is a saltwater fish that can be located mostly in Black sea, Caspian Sea, Pacific Northwest and southern Atlantic coasts of the United States.
We have varieties of caviar to distinguish among many types, flavors and colors, some of which are:
- Beluga: from sturgeon. This one is soft and clear with large eggs. The color ranges from silver to black. It’s considered the highest grade.
- Osetra: from sturgeon. Medium-sized grey eggs and considered second in quality.
- Sevruga: from sturgeon. Relatively small eggs but strong flavor.
- Sterlet: from sturgeon. Small golden eggs. This type was once considered the best premium quality and the most expensive. It was preserved only for high rank people but it is extinct nowadays and not available in the market anymore.
- Lumpfish caviar: Very small eggs usually black. It is Popular and affordable.
- American Caviar: from paddlefish: medium-sized roe with muddy taste.
- Whitefish caviar: known as golden caviar with small eggs and less complex flavor.
Salmon caviar: known as red caviar. Medium-sized eggs. It is the alternative choice recommended for the more expensive sturgeon varieties.
Is it Healthy?
Caviar is rich with cholesterol, and contains vitamin A and D in addition to Omiga3 fatty acid, which according to some researchers can prevent depression. It is a cure used for memory loss or memory weakness for containing acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter.
Also, caviar is known as an aphrodisiac (foods of love) because it contains arginine, a natural vascular dilator that helps increase blood flow. Thus, it is very useful for impotency.
It’s important to mention here that caviar should be served very cold in a non-metallic bowl lest the caviar absorbs the metallic flavor. It should be placed in a small bowl filled with ice in a bigger bowl to preserve the coldness and to be served preferably solo without additives.
One last fact: airlines purchase almost fifty percent of the international caviar stockpile to be served to their first class passengers!
Now we are done talking about the history and types of caviar, we will come to see a live process of harvesting caviar. Iran, among many countries, is very famous and well-known of their fine caviar. Their main source comes from the Caspian Sea where sturgeon is located. Bone appetite everyone!
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