Beluga caviar consists of the roe (or eggs) of the Beluga sturgeon found only in the Caspian Sea. The fish is found primarily in the Caspian Sea, the world's largest salt-water lake, which is bordered by Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan.
This fish is currently considered to be endangered, or at least depleted in numbers.
Beluga is also the most expensive of caviars...."...The most expensive of all caviar, and indeed the world's most expensive food is 'Almas', from the Iranian Beluga fish - 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) of this 'black gold' is regularly sold for £20,000 (then $34,500)....Almas is produced from the eggs of a rare albino sturgeon between 60-100 years old, which swims in the southern Caspian Sea where there is apparently less pollution."source
The Beluga sturgeon can take up to 20 years to reach maturity. The fish harvested for caviar are often nearly 2000 pounds. The eggs themselves are the largest of the commonly used roes, and range in color from light blue to black, with the lighter colors coming from older fish, and being the highest valued. Any additions by producers diminish the value of the roe, and the caviar usually reaches the market without any additions or processing whatsoever.
Most people also find a good bit of acidity and/or sweetness in the flavor as well. As with most caviars, Beluga is usually handled with a spoon made of mother of pearl, bone, or other non-metallic material, as metal utensils tend to impart an unwelcome metallic taste to the delicate and expensive roe. This caviar, as with most others is traditionally served in a variety of ways, including hollowed and cooked new potatoes, or on toast points or a blini. These are served with either sour cream or crème fraîche. Additional serving options are minced onion or minced hard boiled egg whites. The higher grade caviars, including Beluga, usually need very little embellishment.
Where to Buy Beluga Caviar in the United States?
"...True beluga caviar—the roe from a beluga sturgeon—has been illegal in America since 2005, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) banned the import of all beluga products from the Caspian Sea..." However, Sturgeon Aquafarms in Florida, breeds and harvests sturgeon, including the endangered beluga sturgeon, and plans to shortly bring to the US Market.
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