The sturgeon is a prehistoric animal. It is also named as a ‘living fossil’ to emphasize the rarity of its existence. Unlike humans, this animal existed even in the era before the dinosaurs. Nowadays, the family (classified as Acipenseridae) consists of twenty-five species which have their own characteristics. One of those characteristics is their length which varies between forty centimetres and over five meters. The sturgeon resides mostly in cold or temperate waters of the northern hemisphere.
However, almost ninety percent of all the caviar originates from three different species from the Caspian Sea. The most famous one is the Beluga. This sturgeon can reach a length over four meters and can weigh more than a ton (or 157 stone). The colour of the roe varies between light and dark grey, has a firm body and contains a core or ‘eye’.
Secondly, there is the Oscietra which can reach a length of up to two meters and weighs about two hundred kilograms (31 stone). The dark brown to grey colour of the roe with mostly an olive green or gold shimmer is a distinguishing feature of this specie. The taste can be defined as a delicate and nutty flavour.
Finally, the last sturgeon is the Sevruga which is also the smallest one. It reaches less than one and a half meters and weighs often less than twenty-five kilograms (3 stone). The colour of the roe is between light to dark grey with a typical scent. Furthermore, it is the most common type of caviar.
However, real caviar has to be salted very lightly before it can be distributed.
The term ‘Malosol’ on a caviar tin is only given when less than five percent salt is added. However, it is recommended to add between three to four percent to get the ideal flavour. With the flavour and texture in mind it is strictly prohibited to bring caviar into contact with (base) metals. As a solution people often use mother of pearl or glass cutlery but gold and ivory are the more exclusive options.