Noted by the Financial Times as “…one of the very best…” image/svg+xml

Is expensive authentic caviar worth the money, or are there alternatives from other regions that are just as tasty?

Answer 1:

“Worth” is one of those words whose value varies by individual, not only in terms of the value placed on an object (say, a kitchen knife)—what appeals to you may not appeal to me—but also in terms of the amount of money an individual has, because the value of a dollar to a person is determined by the amount of money s/he has. Because dollars are fungible, the marginal utility theory of value applies to them. Take, for example, salt, which is a fungible good. 3 lbs of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt costs roughly $3.50, and it’s well worth it for people who cook. However, you are now being given a second 3 pound package for $3.50. Because you already have some, it’s less appealing: the second box is worth less to you. And if you already have 30 3lb boxes, you’re not going to pay much for additional one. As you accumulate more salt, its value per unit weight declines.

The same thing happens when it comes to money. A dollar is worth a lot more to someone who only has $20 in their bank account than it is to someone who has $10,000. “Worth” is a subjective term.

All types of caviar are delicious, but beluga caviar is particularly good. However, there is a limited supply and a high demand. Are you aware of what that accomplishes? The price rises as a result.

We’re eating salmon caviar for New Year’s—delicious it’s and considerably less expensive. (I am one of the few who does not own a multimillion-dollar estate.)

Answer 2:

If you enjoy something, it is worth the money. True caviar is my favorite, but only when served alone with classic accompaniments. Pretentious dishes like “Wagyu filet mignon with caviar sauce!” or “champagne tomato soup with crème fraiche and Osetra!” make me shiver.

To caviar connoisseurs, nothing compares to Beluga. We see a lot of Osetra, but I prefer Sevruga to Osetra; it’s just a personal preference.

There are some excellent caviars available in the United States. Although I favor the old-timer Tsar Nicoulai brand, Sterling has grown quite popular in California. There’s even a new brand that’s gathered in a sustainable manner, which is a fantastic feat. These are all less expensive than the Iranian and Russian caviars, which are currently endangered.

Tobiko, or flying fish roe, is one of my favorite sushi ingredients. I’m aware that ikura (salmon roe) is more popular, but I’ve never been a fan. The roe from trout may be pretty tasty.

Paddlefish roe is one of the less expensive options. Few people are aware that paddlefish roe was once a popular alternative to sturgeon roe, and that it was not only highly valued on its own, but also a lucrative American export in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Overfishing, poaching, and habitat loss have wreaked havoc on wild American paddlefish, much as they did on Russian/Iranian sturgeon.

Paddlefish and sturgeon, fortunately, are now farmed all over the world. The Chinese paddlefish has allegedly become extinct, and the Chinese now import paddlefish from the United States.

Malossol caviar from paddlefish costs around $24 per ounce. In comparison, farm-raised American Sevruga Malossol costs around $150 per ounce.

Malossol is a Greek word that meaning “little salt.” It’s used to denote higher-quality roe with the biggest, intact eggs, which should be less salty (therefore more perishable).