Extraordinary Caviar for the Extraordinary Palette
Osetra caviars are derived from the eggs of the Osetrova sturgeon, which is generally found in the Caspian Sea. There are several varieties of Osetra caviars and they are mainly produced for export in Russia and Iran; however, farm-raised Osetra caviar is being produced in other countries such as Uruguay and France.
An Osetrova sturgeon usually takes about 13 to 15 years to reach its point of maturity. In the sea, the fish are caught before they lay their eggs and the eggs are massaged out of them. When the eggs are produced the Osetrova are put back into the sea.
Osetrova eggs are about 2.5 millimeters in diameter and Osetra caviar ranges in color from dark brown to gold and sometimes slate gray. This caviar has a distinct, almost nutty taste and many connoisseurs consider Osetra caviars to be the best kind. This opinion of course is open to debate as everybody has their preferences in caviar taste. There may also be a wide argument of where the best tasting Osetra caviars come from, Iran or Russia, or perhaps even the farm bred caviar. Like all other types of food, the only way to tell is to find out for yourself, but this could be a costly taste-testing venture as Osetra caviars can be quite expensive. The caviar usually averages about $50 for a one ounce tin, however the price may vary widely as the caviar is sometimes hard to find.
Another popular type of Osetra caviar is imperial caviar, which is produced from the most rare and most mature Osetrova sturgeon. Imperial caviar is highly coveted by caviar connoisseurs because of its firm golden grains, which produce an earthy, nutty and fruity flavor. This caviar can range from golden to greenish in color. Imperial caviar originally came from the Sterlet sturgeon, but this fish is now largely extinct. Imperial caviar is often called Royal Osetra or Golden Imperial Caviar.
Osetra caviars should be stored at a temperature between 29 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. They have a shelf life of about four to six weeks. They are extremely perishable, so after the caviar has been opened it should be eaten in a day or two.