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This post is all about the most expensive caviar in the world and general info about caviar.
Caviar is the ultimate sign of luxury, and for those who truly love indulging in life’s finer things, it’s a must-have.
It comes from the sturgeon fish, which can take 15 years or more to mature and produce eggs. This long maturation period makes caviar a seasonal delicacy, meaning that the most expensive caviar in the world is only available at certain times of the year.
Rarity, combined with its opulent flavor, makes it a highly coveted item among those who appreciate luxury living. Often considered the world’s most expensive food, caviar is a truly indulgent experience that elevates even the most elaborate recipes to new levels.
And so, if you’re looking to upgrade your dinner parties or are just new to the world of caviar and are keen to learn more, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out all about the secretive world of caviar, where it comes from, what impacts caviar prices and ultimately, the 11 most expensive caviars you can buy.
- What is Caviar?
- What Kind of Fish Does Caviar Come From?
- What are the Different Types of Caviar?
- Why Is Caviar So Expensive?
- Most Expensive Kinds of Caviar You Can Buy
- 1. Strottarga Bianco Caviar – $113,630 per kilogram
- 2. Almas Caviar – $34,000 per kilogram
- 3. Special Reserve Kaluga Huso Hybrid Caviar – $16,000 per kilogram
- 4. Beluga Hybrid Caviar – $9,000 per kilogram
- 5. Golden Imperial Russian Osetra Caviar – $9,000 per kilogram
- 6. Russian Volga Reserve Osetra Caviar – $6,000 per kilogram
- 7. Osetra Karat Gold Caviar – $6,000 per kilogram
- 8. Iranian Osetra Caviar – $5,000 per kilogram
- 9. Sevruga Classic Gray Caviar – $5,000 per kilogram
- 10. Iranian Sevruga Caviar – $4,000 per kilogram
- 11. American Hackleback Caviar – $1,200 per kilogram
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What is Caviar?
With a unique flavor and texture that can range from creamy to crunchy, caviar is often served as an accompaniment to dishes like blinis or toast points. It can also be added to salads, pasta, and other savory dishes to elevate their flavor.
Traditionally sourced from the Caspian and Black Seas, caviar is now farmed all over the world. Its rich history and unmistakable taste makes caviar a luxurious indulgence for many, and naturally, demand has soared over the years.
Black caviar is the most well-known variety, but other colors and flavors can also be found:
- Red caviar or roe, typically sourced from salmon or trout, has a smooth texture and a slightly sweet flavor.
- Gold caviar is made with roe that has been lightly cured with salt, giving it a milder taste than traditional black caviar.
- Brown caviar comes from flying fish roe and has a unique flavor that is slightly more intense than the other varieties.
Generally, the highest-quality caviar can be found in gourmet shops, but it’s also becoming increasingly available at chain supermarket stores.
What Kind of Fish Does Caviar Come From?
Caviar is an incredibly luxurious and highly sought-after delicacy that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is made from the eggs, often referred to as roe, of female sturgeon fish, which can be caught in the wild or farmed.
While other types of fish eggs, such as salmon, trout, and flying fish, are also considered “roe,” only sturgeon eggs are regarded as true caviar. Sturgeon caviar is one of the most expensive foods in the world due to specific regulations during breeding and harvesting.
What are the Different Types of Caviar?
Caviar comes in many varieties, which can be broadly classified by processing methods, such as Malossol (lightly salted), Salted, Pressed, and Pasteurized.
There are also significant differences depending on the fish species; Beluga, Sevruga, and Osetra sturgeon caviar are all highly prized and luxurious, while farmed caviar from other fish species is becoming increasingly popular due to its much lower price.
Why Is Caviar So Expensive?
Caviar is one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, with prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars per kilogram. This high price tag can be attributed to a number of factors, including its scarcity and labor-intensive production process.
Caviar is derived from fish roe that is harvested and processed using traditional methods, some of which date back centuries.
The quality of caviar depends on the type and individual characteristics of the fish it comes from, as well as how it was graded according to uniformity, fragrance, flavor, and transparency standards.
The rarity and complexity involved in producing caviar make it an exclusive commodity whose demand far exceeds supply, leading to its exorbitant cost. As such, caviar has become a symbol of wealth and status, with some connoisseurs willing to pay thousands of dollars for the best quality.
Most Expensive Kinds of Caviar You Can Buy
While you can find relatively affordable roe for under $20 per ounce at your local supermarket, the most expensive caviar in the world will cost several thousand for the same amount.
The price of caviar is usually compared per kilo, though, which is far more than you’ll actually buy or ever need. Here is a complete list of the most expensive caviar in the world and why they’re so pricey.
1. Strottarga Bianco Caviar – $113,630 per kilogram
Strottarga Bianco, also known as White Gold Caviar, is a unique product that has recently gained a significant amount of attention – it is also only available upon specific request!
It was created by the Austrian fish farmer Walter Grüll from the nearly extinct Siberian Albino Sturgeon and is delicately laced with 22-carat gold flakes, making it the most expensive food in the world.
It is served to many, from the likes of royalty to the wealthy guests of top restaurants, but is only sold in very small qualities due to the source being a very rare species of sturgeon.
In addition to its rarity, this one-of-a-kind caviar’s price is attributed to its high quality and origin from pure, unpolluted water. It can also take up to a decade to process.
Last but not least, some argue that small quantities of gold leaf are claimed to be good for the immune system, potentially adding a health benefit to this luxury food item.
2. Albino Almas Caviar – $35,000 per kilogram
Albino Almas Caviar is the second most expensive caviar in the world, with a price tag of around $35,000 per kilo. This rare delicacy is sourced from the elusive and rare albino sturgeon found only in the south Caspian Sea in Iran, and is highly sought-after by many around the world.
Iranian Albino Beluga Sturgeon can take up to 100 years to spawn their eggs, making them incredibly valuable. Some argue that 100 years is actually the minimum that should be expected for true Almas and that the older the fish, the lighter and more valuable its caviar becomes.
Almas Caviar has been enjoyed throughout history by notable figures such as Alexander the Great and Peter the Great, and its name translates to diamond in Russian. After all, it was the Russians that gave Almas Caviar the reputation it has today and elevated it to luxury status.
To ensure the highest quality of the product, all of the caviar must come from female sturgeon found in (relatively) unpolluted waters, and meet the very specific standards required to be classified as true Almas Caviar.
Since only a very small quantity of this caviar is made available annually, it truly is an exclusive product. Its flavor is said to be intensely nutty and creamy, but with special notes that only be experienced from fish that are approaching a century in age.
3. Special Reserve Kaluga Huso Hybrid Caviar – $16,000 per kilogram
The Special Reserve Kaluga Huso Hybrid Caviar is another of the most expensive and sought-after delicacies in the world and is sometimes referred to as River Beluga. This exquisite product is produced from a natural hybrid between Kaluga and Amur sturgeons, two large freshwater fish native to Asian rivers.
The resulting caviar has a creamy texture and an earthy, well-balanced taste thanks to its hybrid origin. It features large, soft buttery eggs that range in color from amber to jade, depending on the maturity of the fish.
Highly prized worldwide for its delicate taste and rarity, this luxurious delicacy comes with an impressive price tag of $16,000 per kilogram. If you’re after some of the highest quality caviar available, Special Reserve Kaluga Hybrid is the way to go.
4. Beluga Hybrid Caviar – $9,000 per kilogram
Beluga Hybrid caviar is sourced from a cross of Beluga and Siberian sturgeons. This makes it much milder than pure Beluga caviar, with a slightly earthy and nutty flavor thanks to the Siberian sturgeon. The eggs are a pearly ebony, firm, and have a smooth, buttery texture. They have also been expertly treated by Caspian salt masters.
For those looking for the utmost in taste and sustainability, Beluga Hybrid Caviar is an excellent choice. This hybrid exists because true Beluga Caviar was once illegal in the United States due to sustainability concerns. Whilst this ban has since been lifted, the Beluga Hybrid Caviar continues to offer a more sustainable alternative. Here’s why.
To meet the ever-growing demand for Beluga caviar, sturgeon breeders discovered that by crossbreeding Beluga sturgeon with the smaller Siberian sturgeon, they were able to achieve the same size roe and flavor profile of pure Beluga. They have also crossed Beluga sturgeon with Adriatic sturgeon, to create another hybrid species with similar qualities.
The hybrid sturgeon are bred in a clean and organic environment, and their caviar costs as much as $9,000 per kilogram, making it an exclusive treat for those who can afford it.
5. Osetra Karat Gold Caviar – $6,800+ per kilogram
Osetra Karat Caviar, made in the ‘Malossol’ way of preservation, is a premium caviar produced in Israel from purebred Ossetra Sturgeon.
Raised near the river Jordan, in clear waters of snow melt from Mount Hermon, Karat Caviar has large, flavorful eggs that are light golden to olive in color.
It costs around $6,800 per kilogram, and has a rich nutty taste, with medium to large size roe. This nutty flavor with sweet hints of sea salt make it perfect for serving in isolation, on a mother-of-pearl spoon and accompanied by champagne brut to truly bring out its delicate notes.
6. Russian Volga Reserve Osetra Caviar – $5,900 per kilogram
Russian Volga Reserve Osetra Caviar is a rare, seasonal delicacy sourced from Osetra sturgeons that are aged 35 years or older. Some have even coined it as the ultimate Beluga substitute.
It offers a complex combination of briny and creamy flavors that can’t be found elsewhere, making it a popular ingredient to add to luxury dishes.
Due to its limited availability, Russian Volga Reserve Osetra can not be sourced all year round, and a kilogram of this exquisite caviar will cost just under $6,000. There are seasonal calendars predicting its availability, and orders need to be placed as much as a year or more in advance to secure a small amount.
7. Golden Imperial Russian Osetra Caviar – $5,200 per kilogram
Golden Imperial Russian Osetra Caviar is a highly prized delicacy amongst caviar connoisseurs. Caught in the Sea of Azov in Russia, this luxurious caviar is renowned for its large, glistening and glossy yellow eggs and its delicate flavor.
One kilo of this exquisite golden caviar can cost over $5,000, making it a truly exclusive experience for those who appreciate luxury dining.
According to urban legend, the Caspian Osetra Sturgeon once laid actual golden pearls that were reserved for the Tsar alone, which quickly gave this caviar a stellar reputation worldwide.
Golden Imperial Russian Osetra Caviar is now farmed across several countries, including Russia and China, allowing more people to enjoy its unique taste. Still, it is far from a mass-produced item and known for its rarity and high price tag.
8. Sevruga Classic Gray Caviar – $5,000 per kilogram
Sevruga Classic Gray Caviar ‘Malossol’ is of the highest quality of caviar, farmed in the USA and sourced from the Caspian and Black Seas. It features beautiful pale-gray pearls with a smooth and buttery flavor, a hint of sweet sea-spray and a subtle aftertaste.
Sevruga is a smaller member of the Sturgeon family, usually farmed in the Caspian Sea, but despite its size, it has one of the most intense and rich flavors found among caviar.
This luxurious delicacy sells for just over $5,000 per kilo, putting it towards the lower end of this list but still making it an expensive luxury.
9. Iranian Osetra Caviar – $5,000 per kilogram
Iranian Osetra Caviar is an exquisite, flavorful and rare premium caviar that originates from the Caspian Sea. Its gray-black eggs offer a unique nutty flavor and buttery texture that allegedly tastes a little different each time it is sampled. It also tends to be slightly firmer than some of the other names on this list.
The Iranian Persicus Osetra pearl is harvested in an environmentally friendly way and requires only a light salting (using traditional Iranian methods) to bring out its full flavor.
True caviar connoisseurs avoid using this delicacy as an ingredient to a dish, but rather prefer to serve it on its own. It takes around 10 to 15 years for the sturgeon to reach maturity, however it has been known to live up to 80 years!
10. Iranian Sevruga Caviar – $4,200 per kilogram
Iranian Sevruga caviar is renowned for its intense flavor and is sometimes referred to as the “caviar of princes.” This too is derived from the Sevruga Sturgeon, the smallest of three sturgeons used to produce caviar.
Due to the size of the fish, the eggs are smaller than say, Beluga caviar, yet when it comes to taste, they definitely pack a punch. Iranian Sevruga Caviar has a firm texture – some may even argue it’s crunchy -with a rich salty and buttery flavor.
Iranian Sevruga Caviar is typically less expensive than other high-end caviars, due to the shorter time required to produce viable eggs – sometimes as little as 7 years! Despite being more widely available, it is still regarded as some of the best in the world, with distinctive green-gray and dark gray-colored roe.
If you are looking for an intense, flavorful, and widely-acclaimed caviar experience, then Iranian Sevruga Caviar is a fantastic choice.
11. American Hackleback Caviar – $1,200 per kilogram
The American Hackleback is known to be the world’s smallest sturgeon, native to the Mississippi and Missouri River basins. It is the only commercially fished sturgeon in the United States.
The roe has a subtle texture and earthy flavor. Given the petite size of the fish, the caviar yielded is small too, and whilst it is slightly firmer, it has the taste of classic wild sturgeon as you would expect.
Whilst it may lack the heritage and pizzazz of Russian caviar, it is more economical than imported osetra caviars. It is also faster growing than most other species, reaching maturity at about 38 inches.
American Hackleback is an ideal home-grown alternative to traditional caviar varieties and is sometimes considered a more sustainable alternative.
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Victoria is a travel blogger and writer from Germany who loves to share her travel tips and advice. She‘s traveling the world full time but spends most of her time in Bali, Indonesia.