Caviar Dreams: Prized eggs go for $200/pound

Karen Fernau -- The Arizona Republic, Food & Drink Section, Page 4 --  December 29, 2004

New Year's Eve traditions call for sharing dreams over Russian caviar. This rich delicacy adds a touch of luxury to any celebration, but the varieties and their price tags can easily confuse a novice. We asked Alik and Svetlana Sulaymanov, owners of Russian Market in Phoenix, to answer our questions about caviar just in time for New Year's celebrations.

Caviar is fish roe, or eggs, taken from sturgeon. Most of the world's caviar comes from the sturgeon of the Caspian Sea, an inland sea between Russia and Iran. To purists, true caviar comes only from sturgeon, and the most prized varieties are beluga, osetra and sevruga. But you will find caviar from other fish varieties, including salmon. In Russia, caviar is considered a delicacy and a food with healing qualities. "We believe it helps the eyesight and immunity system," said Alik Sulaymanov, who along with his wife emigrated from Russia.
  1. Black caviar, also called beluga, has a mild, delicate flavor and blue-gray color. The caviar is soft, clear and glossy, with large, pea-size eggs. They have a creamy, almost buttery taste. The eggs have a prominent dark spot called an "eye," which is the actual egg. The surrounding gel is the egg sac. Beluga is considered the highest grade available and is most often served as an hors d'oeuvre on a cracker or dark bread. It is the most luxurious and expensive. At Russian Market, black caviar sells for $200 a pound.

  2. Red caviar, also called sevruga, is medium-size gray-to-brown eggs with a nutty flavor. It is considered second to beluga. Prices range from $16 to $23 per pound.

  3. One of Russian Market's top sellers is a 4-ounce jar of Osetrina Caviar, which sells for $56. These eggs are grayish and have a strong flavor.

  4. Lososevaya, or salmon eggs, is an affordable substitute. A 4-ounce jar sells for $6.

  5. Alik and Svetlana Sulaymanov suggest serving caviar as an appetizer or garnish. It adds a burst of flavor to such bland foods as eggs, cream cheese, blinis and cold cream soups.

Splurge on caviar / Pull out the stops this New Year's by serving Russian caviar, one of the most exquisite delicacies in the world. These flavorful fish eggs range in price from $16 to an extravagant $200 per pound. Learn the varieties and tips for serving this traditional treat from Alik and Svetlana Sulaymanov, owners of Russian Market in Phoenix


Russian Market           (602) 433-2525.
7828 N. 19th Ave. 
(1/2 block south of Northern)

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