Roe is unfertilized eggs of a female fish. We use the word caviar for processed and ready for use product consisting of caviar grains. It is hard for someone who is not an expert to distinguish between different kinds of caviar. There are several classifications of caviar. The simplest and most oftenly used one divides caviar into red and black. Taste, colour, look and price of caviar directly depend on the kind of fish. So, caviar can be red or black. Black caviar is obtained from sturgeon fishes and red caviar is obtained from salmon fishes. For sturgeon caviar it is considered that the larger and lighter the grains, the better the caviar.
Red caviar is obtained from salmon fishes: keta (dog salmon), pink salmon, red salmon, king salmon, coho salmon and trout; it is processed with the solution of table salt with subsequent addition of preservatives. On the contrary, caviar of salmon fishes is the better and more valuable the smaller the grains; and the larger and darker the grains the cheaper the caviar. Therefore, by a number of properties the first place belongs to keta’s caviar, which is orange with a glimpse of red. Next goes light orange caviar of pink salmon and caviar of red salmon with almost maroon large grains; such caviar is especially popular in Europe, while here keta’s caviar is preferred.
Black caviar is caviar of sturgeon fishes; it is divided into beluga’s, sturgeon’s and stellate sturgeon’s. Sterlet’s caviar is also considered black caviar. For black caviar size and colour of the grains is of first importance. The largest grains are beluga’s, with silver gray colour, sturgeon gives dark bronze caviar, and the grains of stellate sturgeon are pure black. Stellate sturgeon ‘s caviar is of the smallest size, with varying grain sizes, it contains high quantity of fats and proteins. Stellate sturgeon ‘s grain oozes white “milk”, its “eye” is very light. Among all sturgeons stellate sturgeon is the most numerous but the least copious fish.
The name “black caviar” doesn’t always mean it’s real colour. Quite opposite, the lighter the grains, the higher the value of the caviar. For example, the best caviar – golden tzar caviar is obtained from sturgeons older than 60 years old and has amber colour. The colour of other good caviars varies from silver black to grayish brown. Good black caviar has very subtle, almost intangible fish smell. Its grains are shiny, equal in size and do not stick to each other.
The first place by nutrition value belongs to beluga’s caviar, with the biggest grains. It is very delicious, expensive and beautiful: the grains reach 2.5 mm in diameter, their colour is smooth dark or silver gray. Sturgeon caviar is on the second place by nutrition value. It has a gentle aroma, its grains are smaller – a little more than 1 mm, and its colour can be compared with shades of bronze. Next goes caviar of sterlet, smallest in size but not inferior to beluga’s in its nutrition quality.
However, all these classifications are used mostly in Russia. Europeans define each kind of caviar by name and age. Sturgeon caviar is divided into caviar of sturgeon of no less than 20 years old – such caviar is called “king black “; if the fish is older than 45, its caviar is called Rogen Ossietra; and fishes older than 85 give “Imperial” caviar with golden shades.
There is also “Golden Caviar”, it is of amber golden colour. This kind of caviar is considered the most gourmet and rare. This roe is laid by albino beluga, it happens quite rarely because albinos themselves are rare enough. However, experts’ opinions differ about the taste qualities of “golden caviar”. Some of them consider it superior in taste, while other gourmets don’t see much difference in taste and consider golden colour the only exotic feature of the caviar.
Black caviar is made out of roe of beluga, kaluga (great Siberian sturgeon), sturgeon , stellate sturgeon, barbel sturgeon and sterlet.
Sturgeon caviar is divided into fresh-grained (light-salt tinned and hard-salt barrel caviar), pressed, pasteurized and yastik. Also caviar is classified by its way of processing. It is divided into fresh-grained, pressed and yastik. Here everything depends on the age of the caviar .