Types of caviar
To carry the name, Champagne must come from a specific region of France. To earn its name, caviar must come from one of three sturgeon breeds (there are 27 worldwide) from the Caspian sea. There are great sparkling wines that are not “Champagne,” and there are great fish roes that are not “caviar,” but provide an enjoyable taste.
Sturgeon caviars share certain flavor characteristics across the breeds (varietals); a taste of the sea similar to the juice of a perfectly fresh oyster, a taste of brine, and occasionally a metallic finish. Varietal flavors differ fish by fish and tin by tin. Each fish’s diet, environment, maturity and time of harvest affect the flavor and texture of the eggs. How quickly the eggs are processed, how much salt is used, and how they are cured affect the product. Iranians, for example, use brine, while Russians stir salt in directly.
True caviar is sturgeon caviar. This means that the roe comes from sturgeon-the authentic caviar fish. Accordingly, three types of sturgeon produce the best caviar that comes from the Caspian Sea and Black Sea basin. These are the Beluga, Oscietra, and Sevruga. These sturgeons produce the three main types of caviar, which bear their names. The best and most expensive is Beluga caviar with its soft and large eggs. Next comes Oscietra caviar with medium-sized eggs. Sevruga caviar follows in rank with its smaller eggs. Together, these varieties make Iranian caviar respected throughout the world and Iran has always played a prominent role in caviar history. Overfishing and other environmental issues promoted the growth and success of farmed caviar, which comes from sturgeon as well as other fish species.