Beluga caviar: useful facts

Have you taken an interest in what the most expensive dish in the world is? Although the preferences may vary from person to person, common knowledge declares that beluga caviar stays on the top of the list of the most luxurious and captivating flavors a human being can experience.

This delicacy excites food connoisseurs' minds and taste buds, as well as impresses people with its extraordinary flavor and price. Caviar was considered a special delicacy hundreds of years ago, and it managed to hold this title till our days.

However, there is quite a small chance that you will be able to find and taste a pure breed of beluga caviar nowadays. In this article, we will explain why, as well as answer other intriguing questions regarding this type of caviar.

So, what really stands behind the most luxurious type of sturgeon caviar and why is it such a big deal? What is beluga, the fish that produces the best caviar? How can you get a hold of this deluxe appetizer? 

What is So Special About Beluga Caviar?

Let’s start with the basics. The term “caviar” is used to describe the roe that is produced by sturgeon fish only, such as Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga. The Sturgeon family counts twenty-seven species and only their roe can be proudly called caviar.

What is beluga caviar? As you may guess, it is caviar that comes from the beluga sturgeon, the scientific name of which is Huso-Huso. Beluga sturgeon is a splendid bony fish that can have an average size of 4-10 feet and a weight of 40-580 pounds. However, it can grow even bigger: one of the biggest beluga sturgeons ever recorded has reached 3400 pounds and 23 feet.

What about Beluga sturgeon natural habitat? Historically, the fish inhabited Caspian, Black, and Azov seas, only leaving them to spawn in rivers that flow into the aforementioned seas.

Beluga is a predator hunting other fish. The lifespan of this type of sturgeon can last for one hundred years, with males reaching maturity at 12-16 years and females maturing at 22 years old.

Beluga sturgeon caviar consists of big eggs, its color may vary from dark black to gray. Caviar lovers claim it has a rich, gentle taste without any fishy flavor. 

The Best Caviar in the World

While other sturgeons like Osetra or Sevruga produce caviar that is also highly rated by gourmands, only Beluga is considered the best black caviar in the world. Due to its huge size eggs, the beluga is able to produce the biggest fish eggs among its relatives which also have a much more interesting and deep flavor.

Due to these facts, gastronomes for years have valued beluga caviar much higher than other types of caviar. Beluga caviar is the gold standard, and there is no other fish that could surpass it.

What Does Beluga Caviar Taste Like?

The exquisite taste of beluga fish eggs has gained a lot of ecstatic descriptions. The best way to explain what beluga caviar tastes like would be to use adjectives like smooth, buttery, lightly salted, and surprisingly nutty.

To preserve the refined flavor of caviar, you need to serve it using the right accessories (mother of pearl spoons instead of metal ones) and food pairings (pancakes with creme fraiche) or to enjoy its rich flavor on its own.

It is also extremely substantial to serve caviar while it is still fresh and saves its natural flavor. So, we would not suggest buying the product up front and storing it at home for a long time: you will enjoy it much more if you obtain the caviar a few days before you plan to serve it.

Nutritional Facts

The value of caviar goes beyond its superior flavor characteristics and luxurious nature. It also makes a significant contribution to our health which brings even more value to this special dish. Here are a few beluga caviar nutrition facts that will prove that.

  • Caviar is a source of dozens of essential micronutrients. An ounce of caviar provides you with more than the double daily norm of vitamin B12. It is also rich in omega-3 acids, also contains small amounts of other vitamins (A, D, E), Iron, and Selenium.
  • Caviar is high in protein: on average, the ounce of caviar contains 7 grams of protein (one-quarter of an ounce).
  • Due to containing significant volumes of micronutrients we mentioned, caviar brings certain health benefits to its consumers, like slowing down skin aging, enhancing male fertility, improving the immune system, and decreasing blood pressure.
  • Some people might have allergies to caviar, especially, if they are allergic to fish. It can manifest itself in the form of a rash or throat and tongue swelling.
  • An interesting fact: caviar is also rich with the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which contributes a lot to our memory function and at the same time, is said to reduce the symptoms of a hangover.

Where Does Beluga Caviar Come From?

beluga fish

So, how did such a sophisticated appetizer become world-famous?

The history of beluga caviar starts a long time ago, as Ancient Greeks managed to discover and savor its flavor. Later the beluga caviar became a royal delicacy, loved by the British Royal Family, who kept this type of surgeon stock to themselves only. Eventually, Russians turn beluga caviar into an internationally widespread delicacy, as the sturgeon was native to the Caspian Sea at the Russian borders.

The next step of the caviar rush started in 1873 when the German immigrant Henry Schachtsfounded opened the first beluga business on the Delaware River. Luckily for the man, the valuable fish was found in the water there, which allowed the entrepreneurs to fight high European prices. Soon, other Americans followed the steps of Schacht, and the US became the world's biggest producer of beluga caviar at the time.

The industry of beluga caviar has been expanding steadily, considering the excessive amount of sturgeon in the United States. At some point, the caviar was so cheap that US restaurants gave it away for free to lure customers to buy beverages to quench their thirst after eating salty roes. However, in the long play, it led to a huge problem the industry has faced during the last decades. 

How Is Beluga Caviar Harvested Nowadays?

Eventually, the species has become endangered, so there is no beluga caviar harvesting in its wild environment. Due to excessive overfishing, illegal trading, environmental issues, and global warming,  Beluga has already disappeared from its several natural environments. Without adequate protection, the fish is at risk of total extinction. Hence, environmental organizations all over the world promote and implement different programs to repopulate and preserve beluga sturgeon.

Nowadays, sturgeon are raised on several aquafarms, and the majority of beluga caviar comes from beluga hybrids when beluga is bred with other types of sturgeon such as Siberian (Beluga-Siberian) or Sterlet (Beluga-Sterlet which is called “Bester”).

Why Is Beluga Caviar Banned in the US?

In 2005, due to the poor state of the species, United States authorities took necessary measures to protect the sturgeon which led to beluga caviar being banned in the US. Since then, it is illegal to grow or import beluga sturgeon or its caviar to the country, according to Wikipedia.

However, you can find, buy and taste caviar produced by beluga hybrids in USA territory without having any harm to the species and any issues with the law. At the same time, if you are offered beluga caviar from true beluga sturgeon, you should understand that it was obtained on the black market and due to illegal activities.

Why Is Beluga Caviar So Expensive?

And let’s go to the main question: how much is beluga caviar? On average, the price level of the delicacy varies from $600 to $1000 per ounce. However, the cost may vary from brand to brand, as the price depends on different factors like the age of the sturgeon, the quality and size of the roe, and the technologies and environment used to grow fish and gather the product.

Beluga's price is higher than the price of any other sturgeon fish. Beluga caviar is so expensive due to two factors. Firstly, as the fish can produce roe when it is around 18 years old, it takes a lot of time and hence, resources and efforts from farmers to grow fish. Naturally, it affects the price of the product. Secondly, beluga has become rarer than it had been in the past due to extinction, which also has increased the prices significantly.

However, according to the 2021 data, the most popular caviar was sevruga, which dominated the market volumes that year. COVID-19 and lockdowns all over the world affected the prices as well since the majority of supply chains had been disrupted and countries closed their borders. 

How Much Is Beluga Caviar Cost at Bester Caviar?

At Bester Caviar, you can buy beluga hybrid caviar as a part of a gift set that provides you with necessary accessories and food pairing that will make your caviar tasting exquisite event of full value. Treat yourself and your important people with this delicacy to bring a memorable and delightful experience to your lives!

Our beluga caviar cost matches its top-notch quality, and we are able to get through a superior and eco-friendly environment where the sturgeon is grown. We import the Beluga hybrid from one of the most experienced farms on Earth  — Caviar Giaveri in Italy. We store and transport our product the right way to sustain the original taste and texture. Bester’s Caviar has never been frozen and harvested in a classical method by cutting the roe.

You can order our Royal Beluga Hybrid Gift Set with 1oz of caviar for $185. The same set with 1.75oz will cost you $285, 3.5oz — $495, and 8.8 oz — $1,245.

Choose the combination that suits you the best and enjoy the marvelous delicacy!

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