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October 20, 2011

Caviar 101

By Departures Dispatch | Shopping

201110-dd-cavair.jpg

Now you can buy everything online—even caviar. When one of Departures favorite dot-com shops, Ahalife, recently started offering Marky's caviar (a company famous for doing caviar DNA testing to ensure consistent taste), we decided to dig through our archives to revisit this comprehensive look at the top places to buy caviar on the web. We also found these tips for the caviar connoisseur:

How long does caviar keep?

Caviar is perishable and packed to order so only buy what you plan to eat soon. "Fresh caviar should be used within ten days to two weeks and refrigerated in our insulated bags," says Betsy Sherrow, the president of the Seattle Caviar Company. Always store it in the coolest part of the refrigerator—the ideal temperature is between 26 and 32 degrees (never freeze it, though). "Opened jars and tins should be treated like fresh fish and eaten within two days," Sherrow adds.

How much caviar should I serve per person?

Peter Struffenegger of Sterling Caviar recommends having on hand at least a half ounce to one ounce for straight-from-the-tin enthusiasts. If you’re planning to serve it as part of a caviar-based appetizer for eight to ten people, make that three ounces. When you’re using the caviar as a garnish, fig-ure that one ounce yields 20 one-quarter-teaspoon servings.

How about The presentation?

Serve caviar in a glass or mother-of-pearl dish, advises Sterling Caviar’s Struffenegger. As metal will adversely affect the flavor, use mother-of-pearl, horn, or even plastic spoons (caviar "tins" are lined with a thin layer of plastic). Set the dish in a shallow bowl filled with crushed ice to keep the caviar cold.

What is the best way to enjoy caviar?

Armen Petrossian recommends placing a small spoonful at the back of your mouth, gently crushing the beads against your palate with your tongue. Serving it with blini and crème fraîche is nice, but skip the onions and lemon, which can mask the flavor and the texture.

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