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Russian Caviar
Russian caviar is among the most famous varieties of caviar and has been a cherished delicacy for centuries. The name Beluga has become synonymous with wealth and luxury and is widely recognized for its distinct larger grain size, rich flavor and pleasant texture. The sizes of the pearls, as they are sometimes called, depend on the size and age of the sturgeon they are harvested from. On avergae, Russian caviar pearl are the size of a small pea. Each pearl has a prominent dark spot, called an eye, which is the actual egg itself. Wild sturgeon is commonly harvested in the Caspian Sea, but there is a long-running debate as to whether the Black Sea variety is tastier, a debate that aficionados are in no hurry to resolve.

Not as famous, but equally as prized by caviar connoisseurs are the osetra and sevruga varieties of Russian caviar. Sevruga caviar has a very rich, butter flavor that is mildly saltier upon tasting as more pearls burst per bite than larger grained roe. Osetra has a distinct golden brown hue and is considered second in grade only to Beluga. The pearls are only slightly smaller than that of Beluga and impart a flavor often described as smooth and nutty. The Kaluga is a lesser-known species of Russian sturgeon, harvested from the Amur, a river in Siberia which borders Russia and China. The roe of this variety are glossy black to dark grey and have an earthy overtone common to freshwater caviar. Premium Russian caviar is generally sold as “malossol”, a Russian term literally translated as “little salt.” This term signifies superb quality caviar, as lesser quality roe are processed with more than the five percent of salt added to malossol caviar. The lower the salt content, the higher quality, but more perishable the caviar. More salt added during preparation increases shelf life, but alters the taste.

Another Russian word important to know when shopping for caviar is “payusnaya”, which means pressed. Any pearls that are broken or weakened during the filtering process are set aside and later used to create pressed caviar, which is a product often used as a caviar spread or preserve. Pressed caviar has an strong sea flavor and is a popular item with chefs who want to introduce caviar flavor into their culinary creations without paying the premium price for Russian caviar.

Once reserved only for the Czar’s banquet, premium Russian caviar can now be purchased online right here at Black Star Gourmet by anyone with the desire to sample this luxurious and famous gourmet delicacy.

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