Like truffles in the fall or a chocolate in February, the winter season is the boom time for caviar. In fact, 65 percent of sales are done in December for California's Sterling Caviar. After all, tis' the season for hosting holiday parties and gift-giving, both of which are enhanced with a bit of caviar. But why not also sound like an expert on the delicacy? We tapped Lisa Simon from Sterling Caviar, the leading caviar producer in America—which just launched the Kilo Club, a membership where you receive four direct from the farm shipments timed with major holidays throughout the year—to find out four things you didn't know about caviar.
Not All Caviar is Black
While many envision jet black beads, caviar actually comes in an array of shades. "It surprises many people that not all caviar is black," said Simon. "From greenish-brown to even golden, the eggs come in a wide array of hues, and color does not impact flavor."
Case in point, the Two Color Caviar from Sterling Caviar in California is a rare find that until now has been exclusively sold to one three-star Michelin restaurant, Benu, due to its limited production. This holiday season, for the first time, it is available online to buy directly from the farm. Even rarer is their golden-hued Imperial Caviar. There is a .02% chance of finding Sterling's Imperial in a given year.
Caviar Comes From White Sturgeon
True caviar can only come from one of the 27 species of sturgeon. At Sterling, caviar comes from sustainably raised white sturgeon. While caviar eggs are tiny—2.9 millimeters is an average size of a single egg-sturgeon fish can grow quite large. The average weight of a male sturgeon fish is 20 pounds. But 1,500 pounds is the largest recorded white sturgeon, which was estimated to be about 100 years old.
Caviar is Best Served in Mother of Pearl
For optimal results, Sterling recommends serving caviar in its original tin or small glass or crystal dish over ice. Once opened, avoid excess exposure to air of your caviar by consuming it immediately or by placing the lid over the caviar in between servings. "The ideal way to serve caviar is from a mother of pearl spoon as it doesn't impart any unwanted taste to it," said Simon. "Be sure to avoid silver or metal spoons to serve, as they can impact the taste."
Pair Caviar With Tater Tots
"I look at caviar-like an artists palette, just as wine is complex with a wide array of flavors, so is caviar," said Simon. "I love to experiment with a wide array of recipes from or tater tots and caviar to a grilled steak with caviar on top." Potato chips and soft boiled eggs are also excellent choices.
As far as how much, you will need one to two ounces (30–50 grams) of caviar per person. If you are sharing caviar as a garnish or accompaniment on top of hor's d' oeuvres, it is safe to figure a half to one ounce (15–30 grams) per person/serving.