FOOD TRADITIONS AND ETIQUETTE
When we talk about "caviar" traditions and etiquette, it’s pretty much a guarantee you don’t everything about this rich history.
The very first mention of sturgeon fishing and caviar salting date back to the reign of the Egyptian pharaohs and Phoenician kings. The properties of black caviar to saturate the body for a long time and give energy was appreciated by ancient Russian fishermen as early as the 4th century AD.
In fact, it was them that came up with the idea of salting caviar, squeezing the moisture out of it, and pressing it. The resulting "cakes," which proved to be indispensable on long journeys, became the prototype of pressed caviar.
Today, black caviar abroad is one of the most famous and exquisite delicacies, most often enjoyed at gala receptions or official banquets. Despite the fact that in black caviar is a welcome guest on the festive table, many people are not only not familiar with the intricacies of caviar gastronomic etiquette ─ they don’t even know it exists!
How to Choose?
This part is simple ─ focus on the manufacturer. The most important thing in the “correct” caviar is its quality, which directly depends on the conditions in which sturgeons are grown.
Good water, selected balanced feed, careful fish care, selection of the best raw caviar, and strict control over products at all stages of production.
How to Serve?
There are two traditions of serving black caviar - Traditional and European.
In Europe, caviar is served in a special caviar bowl - a large container with ice, where a small glass or crystal vase with caviar is placed. Traditionally, a few minutes before serving, caviar is laid out in glass, porcelain, or silver containers, but ice is not added to them.
Historically, black caviar was always served fresh, and it took a long time to bring it to Europe. During transportation, caviar lost its freshness and ended up on the table of Europeans with various flavors, which had to be masked with ice and lemon, which reduced the fishy smell.
From there, the myth that caviar should be served on ice began. In reality, caviar should warm up a little at room temperature - only then will its true taste be revealed.
No matter how you serve this most delicious delicacy, the main thing is that it should be given a place of honor because we are talking about the “queen of the table,” as our ancestors called caviar.
Ready to Eat
Real gourmets eat caviar with small, elegant tablespoons - silver, mother-of-pearl, or bone. With other materials, black caviar is simply not “friendly:” an unpleasant metallic taste appears.
What to Combine With Caviar?
The luxurious delicacy does not require additions with other products, but it goes well with warm white bread toasts lightly buttered.
For caviar, unsweetened crackers, biscuits, or thin bread are perfect. Caviar is also often served in tartlets or vol-au-vents. Instead of butter for the contents of such snacks, you can prepare a delicate cream of soft cheese and heavy cream, and decorate the dish with olives and herbs.
A wonderful snack is a fresh cucumber, cut into slices or halves of hard-boiled quail eggs with a spoonful of caviar on top.
A luxurious gourmet option is caviar and oysters. Oysters are served open with fresh lemon wedges. First, the oyster is sprinkled with lemon juice, and topped with a spoonful of black caviar. An ideal accompaniment for such a treat would be a glass of sparkling dry or brut.
What to Drink With Caviar?
Black caviar is a traditional appetizer for the most traditional drink - vodka. True connoisseurs simply bite the vodka with caviar, scooping it up with a caviar spoon.
The slightly salty fatty taste of caviar is only emphasized by a sip of "firewater.” But when the excitement of black caviar reached other countries, of course, each one changed this tradition slightly.
In France, another classic combination was born - black caviar and champagne. Sparkling wine pairs well with the contrasting salty taste of caviar, especially if you’re using only the best, elite varieties of classic French champagne luxury class, Cuvee.