What is American Caviar?

A little known secret about American Caviar is that it has been more popular than perceived for a long time. Since the 19th century, the world’s caviar was produced in the United States, Europe, Black Sea and Caspian Sea.  In the meantime, overfishing, pollution and a ban on endangered Caspian Sturgeons have been gradually collapsing traditional Caviar sources Caspian Sea causing a resurgence in the demand for American Caviar and Farm Caviar. As a result, caviar producers in America are meeting the demand while simultaneously striving to develop more self-sustaining production systems for the best Domestic Caviar.

When it comes to caviar, however, deciding which is best often depend on the caviar lover or consumer’s preference versus type and flavor. However, there are distinctions such as maturity, texture, depth of flavor and color that determines the difference between grades.

So what is American Caviar and how does its quality compare with long romanticized Beluga, Ossetra and Sevruga Caviar from areas like the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea? The following list describes some of the top Domestic Caviar as well as a hint to quality comparisons.

  • American Hackleback Caviar comes from the Midwest and California. It is a less pricy favorite which makes it a popular fare at large elegant functions.  Although it has smaller grains, experts say the American Hackleback Caviar’s assertive flavor and clean after taste compares favorably to Imported Caviar.
  • American Paddlefish Caviar also known as “Spoonbills” has a silky, smooth texture and a rich bold flavor. When describing this delicacy, Caviar connoisseurs explain that its earthy palate is balance by a delicate buttery flavor. In comparison to its Caspian equivalent, the only thing being exchanged here is the crisp pop of the Sevruga and a much friendlier price tag. In fact, it is often referred to as the cousin to Sevruga Caviar whose cost is only surpassed by the Beluga and Ossetra varieties.
  • American Black Caviar (Bowfin Roe) is derived from an ancient fish also known as “Choupique”. The Bowfin has been around for so long that they are considered to be living fossils. This domestic caviar is valued for a distinctively fresh flavor that separates it from comparison with other black roe caviar.
  • California White Sturgeon Caviar or Transmontanus Caviar is also referred to as Pacific Sturgeon. Fishing of Wild White Sturgeon is also banded by Fish & Wildlife. 100% of White Sturgeon Caviar available on the market produced by Farm Sturgeon producers.  It is the third largest freshwater fish when compared to Beluga and Kaluga Sturgeons.  The versatility of this sustainable caviar has made it a chef’s favorite for pairings with everything form foie gras to chocolate mousse.  The pleasure of eating it directly from a spoon is also not to be underestimated.

There is a growing consensus that the success of domestic or American Caviar can be contributed to the quality that exceeds expectations. According to Chef Rick Moonen owner of the New York and Mandalay Bay RM Restaurants, he started shopping around for alternatives after he noticed a decline in the quantity of Caspian caviar.  “I love buying American caviars. These are great products and they are sustainable” he said.

Whether you are buying Imported Caviar or American Caviar, remember it should be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator to maintain optimum freshness.