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A Brief History of Caviar

Caviar is one of those delicacies that inspire passion in those who love it. When you’re hooked, you’re hooked, and you dream about the next time you’ll be able to savor those rich pearls of flavor. Some people are afraid to try caviar, and others who do, find it’s just not for them. But that is definitely the minority. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on high quality caviar, produced with care and obsessive attention to quality, you’ll count yourself among the lovers of caviar.

For hundreds of millions of years, sturgeon fish have populated the cold waters of the Northern hemisphere. They are large fish, averaging around 60 lbs., but they can grow to weigh more than 2500 lbs. The female sturgeon lays her eggs in fresh water, but sturgeon itself is considered a saltwater fish. And those eggs, or roe, are the caviar we crave.

The name caviar itself comes from the Persian word, “khav-yar” which means cake of strength. Persia, or modern day Iran was, and is, a large producer of caviar, and it got its name because it was thought to have medicinal powers. Delicious and good for you! Persians ate the sturgeon eggs, but they didn’t salt them, the Chinese originated this practice, because it worked so well with carp eggs. The salting of caviar makes it easier to preserve of course, and allows it to travel.

Caviar was loved by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, and hoarded by European royalty in the Middle Ages. The Russian czars elevated it to a “luxury food item” status. The French started importing it in the 1800s, and the British royals wanted it only for themselves. This is how we think of caviar, as the food of kings. But in America, the caviar taken from sturgeon in the Delaware River was at one point sold for a nickel. How can this be? Well, because tavern keepers saw that their patrons drank more when they ate caviar. Instead of salty peanuts, they tempted drinkers with caviar! Strange but true.

With caviar being sought out by diners of every class, sturgeon was over fished to the point of near extinction. With that came a spike in price that made it available only to the wealthy. It was back to peanuts in American bars! To this day, there are restrictions on the sale of Russian caviar, particularly Beluga caviar, which is the highest priced.

But exquisite caviar can be found around the world. Carefully and lovingly farmed caviar such as Polanco Caviar from Uruguay is equal in flavor to any caviar produced in Russia or Iran. So if you haven’t tried caviar yet, find out what all the fuss is about and order some Polanco Caviar from Fine Taste Club. We’re the proud and exclusive US importers of this celebrated product. And if you’ve tried it before and you’re in love, consider getting it for a friend or loved one to try. We’re all kings and queens now, because the most luxurious food item in the world is only a click away.

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