If you ever wonder how fish egg or roe can be so pricey and expensive, then remind me that it is a reality though it sounds crazy. Nonetheless, caviar is one of the most delicious and precious food items on the planet. It has been considered as the synonym of the luxurious and fabulous way of life. And it is a high-demanding food item with exclusive taste and aromatic flavor.
You have to carefully notice that all the eggs of fish are known as roe but the eggs of only a specific fish namely Sturgeon are called caviar. This particular fish has several kinds of species including Sevruga, Osetra, Beluga, Persian, and Starry Sturgeon from which caviar is harvested. These fishes are found in the Caspian Sea and some other parts of the world. But the accessibility is very rare and it takes a completely intricate and lengthy procedure to produce caviar.
Due to several reasons, caviar is an extensively popular and renowned food item. It is said that some caviar in your mouth can make you forgetful for a while. Such kind of taste and delicacy it has! You will fall in love whenever you have any chance to taste caviar.
However, caviar is truly expensive, and to say more clearly, its price is completely outrageous. Hence, I’m here going to find out some reasons for which this food is quite extravagant.
Why is caviar so expensive?
Once, caviar was a very common food and was found available in Europe. Generally, fishermen and common people would eat it, and it was even offered to people for free. More surprisingly, it was fed to cattle. Think, how usual and cheap it was then.
But over the years, it has become very valuable. Now, the price of caviar is somehow shocking and astonishing. You will be stunned at knowing that Beluga caviar, mostly known as Almas Caviar, is officially the most expensive caviar in the world till now according to the Guinness Book World Records. It costs nearly $35,000 per kg. And to be more surprised, this caviar comes with 24-karat gold fixtures when it is served.
You have more things to be shocked about. Although Beluga caviar is officially the most expensive caviar, Strottarga Bianco is the most expensive caviar non-officially. This caviar is harvested from an endangered sturgeon species for which its production is very limited. One kilo of this caviar is sold at more than $100,000.
Moreover, besides these two particular types of caviar, some other types of caviar are also found at a hefty price tag. Specifically, Imperial Caviar, Sevruga Caviar, and Golden Osetra Caviar are some of them which cost around $5,000 to $10,000 in respect of their characteristics. So, why is caviar so expensive? This may be a very usual question about caviar. Hence, the reasons are illustrated elaborately in favor of you.
You are informed that caviar is not harvested from all the fishes. Rather, it is only found from a certain fish coming from the Sturgeon family. Just 27 species of Sturgeon fish are found around the world including North America, Europe, and Asia. But to be displeased, nearly 20 species among them are now enlisted as endangered. What is more disappointing is that all of the species are placed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Animals.
Why these species are endangered has some reasons indeed. When people came to know the fact that caviar is found from certain species of Sturgeon fish, they became excited and started to hunt the fishes of this family. Catching Sturgeon had become such a convenient and profitable business at that time.
As a result of overfishing, the number of this wild sturgeon has decreased massively. And in recent years, these fishes are almost near extinction as the fishing and poaching are still not stopped. Consequently, the number is declining every day.
Then, as sturgeon have been decreasing, its habitation becomes limited. Nowadays, only certain regions are there to harvest this fish. And the areas are restricted from the common people as it is an invaluable fish species. Therefore, caviar production becomes very slow and limited. For this reason, caviar produced from only this fish should be expensive and it is verily justifiable. The impediment of accessibility and rarity has made it mandatory for caviar to be highly expensive and a name of affluent luxury.
Unmatched taste and flavor:
If you are asked about the taste and flavor, you should have a lot of knowledge about it or at least an experience of eating it. Truly, it is hard to express the real taste and smell of caviar without experiencing it. It should also be mentioned that the taste is controversial according to people.
Traditionally, it is believed that caviar releases a salty taste. And according to another group of people, the taste is fishy and there is a flavor of seafood texture. As caviar comes from sea fish, there will be a kind of smell and aroma of ocean water. Once you release an amount of caviar and roll it slowly in your mouth, and bite it, there will be an explosion of unique and outrageous flavor that will please you immediately. In a word, caviar is completely delicious, palatable, and savory with a soft, smooth, buttery, nutty and juicy taste.
Moreover, the taste and flavor vary according to the species of the fish. Osetra and Sevruga Caviar provide a buttery scent with nutty flavors. Besides, Iranian caviar evolves a creamy, savory, and soft taste of nuts.
Long time to produce:
Another significant factor that matters in the high cost of caviar is a long time of production. The sturgeon fishes can not release eggs after their birth. They need time to be productive and capable of bearing eggs.
Releasing eggs is totally dependent on the species of sturgeon fish and on the time when they become mature. Generally, the maturity of these species takes from 10 to 20 years. Almost all the species need this certain period. Whereas Sevruga sturgeon takes 10 years, the most precious Beluga sturgeon needs a minimum of 18 to 20 years to be mature to produce eggs.
After being mature within that time, they can release millions of eggs up to 50 years on occasion. In particular, it is a matter of wonder that a mature female Beluga Sturgeon can live nearly 120 years, and a sturgeon of this age was found in the Caspian Sea a few years ago.
However, now it is quite comprehensible that a sturgeon takes a lengthy period to release eggs. As a result of this long time of production, the farmers have to wait for years and years and accomplish a lot of processes to get caviar. Hence, when caviar is ready and prepared to market, it takes a hefty amount of money in return.
Difficult processes of harvesting and manufacturing:
As I mentioned above that the processes of harvesting caviar are lengthy and sluggish, sturgeon fishes possess a long period to be capable of spreading eggs. This long time, at the same time, carries out some difficult processes including washing, curing, inspecting, aging, and other manufacturing strategies of the roe to harvest properly. And these methods also cost a huge amount of money.
Once the fish is mature enough to bring eggs, it is killed to get the eggs. Although killing the fishes after waiting several years to make them mature is an upsetting matter, it is an inevitable process to take roe from the stomach of the fishes. There is also a piece of pleasing news that schemes are being taken to obtain eggs without killing fish but it is yet to be implemented.
However, after killing the fish, collecting the eggs should be carefully done. When eggs are removed, they have to be kept in a hygienic environment for all the time of screening and washing. Otherwise, there is a chance to be contaminated and ruined, and it will be terrible to eat them.
After the completion of washing, the eggs are graded to testify to their aesthetic quality and flavor. Then, some of them are salted to heighten flavors that need it. Afterward, it has to be packaged in such a way that can last for a long time. Henceforth, when the aging process is completed, the packages are brought under a shipment or pasteurization process that takes more time than the previous processes.
Thus, the systems of producing, manufacturing, and marketing caviar are performed. At the time of the manufacturing process, the workers should bear in mind that all the processes must be brought out with no mistake so that the taste remains authentic and unmatched.
Therefore, these complicated methods to harvest caviar are the fundamental factors that influence the high price of the food. Moreover, the labor cost and the use of modern technology are also much noteworthy in this case.
Worldwide Demand and Supply:
As delicious and luxurious food, caviar is one of the most demanded and sought-after food items on the planet. But you know that the production is very low and limited in comparison to the demand. Almost all the species of sturgeon are identified as imperiled species. As a result, the number of these fish has decreased very remarkably.
Now, sturgeon fish is not available in every part of the world. Instead, some specific regions including the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea are known as the habitation of this threatened species. Besides the natural places of the fish, there are also some other special areas where sturgeon are farmed artificially and these places are restricted and controlled by individual countries.
It is said that more than 2,000 farms are there that harvest different species of sturgeon for caviar. Russia, China, Iran, and America are the prominent countries that own various farms of sturgeon.
Nevertheless, the production of caviar is much less than the global demand. For this reason, when caviar is imported or exported to another country, the price increases so high to cover the cost of production, manufacturing, and storing.
In conclusion, it is a known fact that caviar is one of the most delicious and luxurious dishes of food on the earth. It must be harvested from a specific species of fish namely Sturgeon. But over time, this fish has been decreased and threatened in the hands of professionals. As a result, it becomes very scarce to find available. Besides having a rare species, sturgeon take too much time to be capable of releasing roe. Moreover, the different kinds of manufacturing procedures are also a big impediment to producing caviar abundantly. Therefore, these specific reasons are the principal matters that increase the price of caviar and make it highly expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1: What fish produces expensive caviar?
According to the Guinness World Book of Records, Almas caviar is the most expensive caviar in the world. And happy to know that a rare species of Iranian Albino Beluga sturgeons is the mother of this caviar. This Beluga sturgeon is now endangered and very few are found in the southern Caspian Sea.
In particular, Strottarga Bianco caviar has recently been remarked as the most expensive caviar in the world unofficially. This distinguished caviar is also harvested from a Beluga Sturgeon. So, it is clear that Beluga Sturgeon produces most of the expensive caviar found on the globe.
Q2: Is expensive caviar worth it?
Caviar is simply unparalleled in terms of taste and flavor. Its unique delicacy and aromatic scent are irresistible and mesmerizing. And only for the distinguished characteristics of taste, it is recognized as one of the most palatable and widely celebrated food items on the planet. Thus, it has become an expensive dish of food.
Moreover, the production and manufacturing of caviar are also very complicated. It takes too much time and a painstaking process to harvest caviar and to make it edible. The manufacturing cost should also be considered in this case. So, concerning all the factors, it should be stated that expensive caviar is worth it fairly.
Q3: Where does expensive caviar come from?
Most of the best and expensive caviar comes from the Caspian Sea. Having a large number of sturgeon species including the Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga, it is called the home of these fishes. Specifically, Iran has been dominating the caviar market for centuries regarding the highest production, quality, and market since it has a large share in the Caspian Sea. Besides, Russia, China, and America are the other countries that produce caviar in abundance.
About Dawson Kutch
Dawson Kutch is a born and raised Alaskan who loves the outdoors and everything it has to offer. Kutch has been an avid hunter and fisher his entire life, and takes great pride in providing for himself and his family. While he enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, Kutch also has a passion for fashion and loves to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. In his free time, Kutch enjoys spending time with his wife and one young daughter. He is always looking to learn more and better himself, both as a writer and as a person.