From Ancient Greece to 2021: Caviar Through the Ages
Caviar has a fascinating history, from its origins in ancient Greece to the present day. It's no surprise that caviar is served at some of the most luxurious restaurants around the world and can be an expensive delicacy for those who enjoy it. The following article will explore how caviar was first introduced and what changes have been made over time as more people learned about this delicious dish!
The First Records of Caviar
The first known mention of caviar dates back to Aristotle, the ancient Greek Scholar. At that time, it was popular among the general population and was typically consumed at banquets served with flowers. The Greeks would sometimes even eat it as a dessert course!
However, the luxury element that is now associated with caviar was not introduced until Russia offered the "imperial" caviar, which is a coveted and hard-to-find caviar. It was typically served on dry or lightly buttered toasts, as well as unsalted crackers.
Eventually, this concept of luscious caviar was circulating among most countries in Europe, and cherished by each place it landed. In the second century, you could purchase one jar of caviar for approximately one hundred sheep, which made it hard for anyone but upper-class citizens to be able to purchase.
Caviar Makes Its Landing In America
In the early nineteenth century, there used to be an abundance of caviar available in dining establishments for the small price of a nickel! This was because America had an abundance of sturgeon at the time. It was even served in Saloons for free because its saltiness made guests thirsty, which in turn made them more likely to purchase additional beverages.
As businesses learned about the money that could be made by exporting American sturgeon caviar, they started overfarming it to the point of almost extinction. This pushed America to instead look to other types of fish roe, such as salmon, lumpfish, hackleback, and trout, as an alternative to sturgeon.
Caviar Throughout the Last 100 years
One of the most luxurious foods in the world is caviar. It's clear by the way it has been presented in the last 100 years, from famous events to presidential get-togethers, that it is still much considered a luxury. While there have been many different types and variations of this dish, what they all have in common is that they can be very expensive. Here are some highlight events from the last 100 years.
1920s: Paris, France
As Paris adopted caviar into their palate almost immediately, they also created a particular way to eat it, especially the famous Petrossian Family. Wealthy French government members and royalty would enjoy it with a flute of champagne and a blini topped with caviar.
1930s: Cruise Ships
The menus on cruise ships such as the S.S. United States and RMS Queen Mary were absolutely incredible in the 1930s, with dinner including more than ten courses each night! Some of the specialties served on these ships included Consommé with Beef Marrow and iced beluga caviar.
1940s: The Ritz Grill Club in Pennsylvania
The Ritz Grill Club was undoubtedly the most popular place to hang out in Pennsylvania in the 1940s and featured entertainment, drinks, and food. The minimum cover to attend the club was $1.00 to enjoy the entertainment. If you wanted to order from the menu, there were many specialties offered, including Russian caviar.
1950s: Norwegian Airline
In the early 1950s, dining used to be a lot more glamorous. In many vintage photos of Norwegian Airlines, you can spot customers enjoying delicious meals at 35,000 feet, including ham, lobster, salmon, and caviar! Since a ticket back then would cost 40% more than a ticket today, it's understandable why meals were so luxurious in the past.
1960s: Plaza Atheene Hotel Party in Paris
Caviar was a must for high-class dinners. In fact, one famous dinner featuring Audrey Hepburn presented more than $600,000 of diamond on caviar sandwiches.
1970s: Breakfast Specialty in Russia
It became so common to eat blinis or toast with caviar for breakfast due to the mass supply of Caviar in Russia. It was typically sold in large mason jars and played a significant role in the diet of Russians.
2014: White House Dinner in Washington D.C.
In 2014, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed President Francois Hollande and 350 guests to a formal state dinner. While the food was featured from 13 different states, special attention was focused on presenting the finest American fare, including American Caviar and Hawaiian Chocolate-Malted Ganache cake for dessert.
2021: Oscars Governor Ball in Los Angeles
Even today, many events use caviar in their menus, such as this year's Oscars Governor balls. One of the highlights included a baked potato with caviar.
The Present Status of Caviar
Caviar is still very much considered a luxury and served for various events and meetings. However, when you look at what types are available today compared to 100 years ago, there have been many changes. For example, sturgeon caviar was once plentiful in America, and now salmon roe or trout eggs have become more common. Reasonably priced "black caviar" is also wild American paddlefish and hackleback roe, which is very good as an entry level to caviar. Currently, there are farms all over the world. We source our sturgeon caviar from farms who do not use artificial preservatives and that can provide us fresh harvest caviar all year round without over ageing it.
FAQ On Caviar
1. What Is Caviar?
Caviar is a dish consisting of salt-cured fish eggs. The most popular type of caviar comes from sturgeon, and it's this particular kind that has been used for hundreds of years in exclusive events such as the Oscars Governor ball.
2. What Does Caviar Taste Like?
Caviar is known for its salty taste and firm texture, similar to the tastes of saltwater. Factors that can influence caviar taste are the species of the sturgeon, where it comes from, and its age - older, more mature sturgeons produce the best type.
3. How Much Does Caviar Cost?
The cost of caviar varies depending on a few factors, such as the rarity or demand for specific types like Beluga caviar. Prices can range from $35 to more than $20,000, depending on your order size and type.
4. How Is Caviar Served?
Caviar can be served on its own or in a dish such as with eggs and toast, crackers, blinis, sour cream, sevruga caviar (small grains), and more.
5. How Can I Try Caviar?
To try caviar, you can order it from a specialty store such as Haute Caviar Company, where all of the caviar is hand-picked by caviar experts for freshness, quality, and taste. Haute Caviar is a women led company and the team is committed to integrity of sourcing. Contact us for limited offerings and educational seminars.