How To Eat Caviar Properly
Caviar is a delicacy and sensual food that must be treated as such. It’s got such a unique flavor profile, that there’s an actual right way to eat caviar, and it makes eating caviar enjoyable.
For those who have never had the pleasure of trying caviar, here are a few tips on how to properly eat and enjoy your first bite of caviar.
To start, there is a correct way to eat caviar you’re supposed to eat it off the back of your hand, between your index finger and thumb.
John Knierim, vice president of Calvisius Caviar, is our Caviar connoisseur and partner, said people began eating caviar this way in order to test out what they were buying before they purchased a tin of caviar.
“If you eat something off of your hand, your brain automatically says that there is no flavor profile or texture coming off the back of your hand,” Knierim said. “But if you eat something off a spoon, your brain tells you that a spoon has a taste and a texture to it.
“But people realized there were bacteria being passed along by the palm of the hand, but the back of the hand was the purest form because they could actually put caviar on the back of the hand and not pass the disease along from one person to the next,” he said. “They would actually taste the caviar off the back and if they liked it, they would take that tin. If they didn’t like it, they would open up another tin and let the customer choose which one they wanted.
So below we broke down the etiquette on how to eat caviar.
Step 1: Get it on your hand
To properly assess the quality of caviar, take a small amount (3-5 g/ 0.10-0.17 oz) with a mother of pearl spoon (bone or horn), and place it on the back of the hand between the index finger and thumb. Gently move the caviar and tilt your fist towards the light, ensuring the round perfection of the eggs while appreciating the color and sheen of the product.
Step 2: Smell it
After a few seconds on the hand, caviar warms slightly and the evaporation of aromatic molecules, otherwise hardly detectable at 0 ° C, intensifies.
Bring your fist under your nose to evaluate the fragrance; this has to be almost absent, vaguely evoking the sea, but no flavor should be associated with that of preserved fish.
Even after the caviar has been tasted, the hand shouldn’t have a strong fish odor.
Step 3: Taste it
Once caviar is in your mouth, linger pleasantly on its taste by sliding the eggs on the palate and appreciate its smooth and tender texture and the amazing explosion of flavors. Only then, complexity, intensity and finally the persistence of the incredible flavor of great caviar can be truly appreciated.
Caviar purveyors have eaten the delicacy this way for years. But it’s taken other people a little longer to catch on.
Even though it might look foolish to eat caviar like this, it actually helps get a “cleaner flavor” of the caviar, according to Knierim. And the uncomfortableness associated with eating it like this will fade. While most times in restaurants people are going to put it on a toast point or a blini because of decorum, don’t be afraid to try this method in public. Only true connoisseurs will understand.
“I think getting people to try it for the first time like that is really important. When somebody’s never had good caviar it really makes a huge difference,” Knierim said. “Most people don’t know how to smell caviar [the correct way], and if it has a smell to it, you don’t want to eat it. If it’s on the back of your hand, you can smell the difference [between good or bad] right away. But if you must take your caviar with something, Knierim said his favorite way to eat it off-the-hand is on a buckwheat blini with nothing else on it.
Best Pairings With Caviar
The best compliment to caviar is dry sparkling wines. These help the flow of aromas and merge its aromatic complexity to that of caviar with often surprising effects.
Some caviars are more suitable to be used in the kitchen or used with strictly cold or lukewarm pasta, rice or potato.
Almost raw egg yolk, light sour cream, soft bread or blini are suitable to meet the texture of the roe, while others can only be fully appreciated simply by themselves.