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Top 10 Facts and Myths about Caviar


1) Caviar is fish eggs so it must taste horrible. An obvious myth. The fact is that everyone's tastes are different but with the variety of caviar available and the various ways to prepare it, most everyone can find a type of caviar that they will like. The idea of eating the egg masses from fish is what normally turns people off from caviar, but like most raw delicacies it is much more palatable once you take the plunge and give it a try.


2) Caviar is live fish eggs. In my experience I’ve found that people who immediately say they don’t like caviar are the same people who are misinformed about exactly what caviar is. Caviar is the processed and salted roe from fish or other marine animals. Either the ovaries or the egg masses of fish and marine animals can be considered roe and there are many different varieties and styles. Roe is not alive. Many people in Asia eat roe raw, unsalted and unprocessed. In America the roe is usually prepared and salted as caviar and served as a subtle addition to a meal.


3) Caviar is healthy for you. This is largely fact, but it depends on how the caviar is prepared and what it is served with. Because caviar is served with little preparation and processing, it is still high in vitamins and minerals and is low in calories. The fact that caviar is eaten in small batches, often as a garnish or hors d'œuvre makes it a great addition to any healthy entrée or appetizer.


4) The only good caviar is from Russia. This is definitely a myth. Russia and Iran are known for their fine caviar but California is also the place to find sought after caviar that can be just as good as anything you will find in Europe.


5) Metallic silverware will ruin the taste of caviar. This has both a bit of myth and fact. Many caviar aficionados and traditionalists will not touch caviar if it comes in a metallic can or if it has been served using anything other than mother-of-pearl or golden spoons. The fact is that most caviar comes from the producer in metal tins and then transferred to glass jars so there is no way to avoid the caviar coming into contact with metal completely. Caviar can be expensive, though, and if you are shelling out a decent chunk of change you do want to get the purest taste possible, so it is recommended you do not use sterling silverware.


6) Caviar is the ultimate delicacy. This is a tough one and obviously based on one’s personal bias. The fact is that for a long time sturgeon were not caught for their roe eggs but for their meat. The fish was so plentiful that the meat was not considered a delicacy. Most cite the early 1900s as the time of the first caviar boom in the United States when sturgeon started becoming primarily caught for their eggs.


7) Caviar is an aphrodisiac. There is some truth to this but it’s debatable whether it is due to the actual properties of caviar or the social aspects of the delicacy. Some say that caviar, since it is high in zinc can be considered an aphrodisiac on par with oysters but others say it is the fact that caviar is seen as a symbol of high social status and wealth that makes heat up romantic encounters.


8) You should not store leftover caviar. This is largely true. Like wine, when exposed to air and warm temperatures, caviar looses a lot of its original aroma and flavor. It is best to consume all your caviar in one sitting. If you must store it cover the caviar with plastic wrap to remove any air and then put it in an air sealed container. Never freeze your caviar.


9) Caviar is good for your skin. This is still debatable. Many say that oily fish and caviar with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids are not only good for your heart but good for your skin. This hasn’t been scientifically proven so don’t go out and gorge yourself on caviar and fish. In fact, that could be more dangerous to your health as you could get mercury poisoning.


10) Caviar is expensive. Like any food variety, there are different price ranges for different types and caviar is no exception. Caviar can be expensive, many have even predicted it may even become a sort of extinct delicacy due to its price, but I don’t believe that at all. Caviar will always shave a place in many restaurants and parties as a signifier, no doubt, of what seems like a bygone area, one where men always dressed in suites and women always dressed as Grace Kelly. The aura around caviar will never diminish and it will never become too blasé, and for many caviar foodies, that is just the way they want it.