Most caviar enthusiast will tell you that beluga and sevruga are the most exquisite kinds of caviar available, but beyond these types there are several breeds that are too often overlooked. Below is a list of some alternative caviar that contains qualities that make them equally as enjoyable as the major varieties even though they are less renowned.
Salmon Caviar (Red caviar)
Salmon caviar is often referred to as ‘red caviar’ due to the eggs’ shade which ranges from light orange to dark red. Salmon eggs are usually of an average size, but they make for an intriguing alterative to sturgeon caviar as their taste boasts a greater flavour of fish is when compared to that of other caviars. Salmon caviar is also most chefs’ favourite replacement for sturgeon fish if latter is ever unavailable. Attempts to alter the colour of salmon caviar so that it can be passed off as sturgeon have not only altered the caviar’s taste, but have failed to convince enthusiasts of its veracity. There’s simply no mistaking the taste of salmon caviar.
Trout is not a fish that one would instantly associate with caviar production, but in actual fact the ‘rainbow trout’ produces unique tasting caviar that boasts a flavour milder and less salty than that of sturgeon fish. This means it is the perfect caviar to serve to diners who have never tasted caviar before as they may not be prepared to indulge in the sudden strong flavour that other caviars will unleash. Trout caviar eggs are orange and smaller in comparison to similar caviars such as the orange eggs produced by the salmon. But what trout eggs lack in size they make up for in sheer availability, as the harvesting of trout caviar is widely available all over the globe. It is also one of the least expensive caviars, increasing its accessibility even further. This is a caviar with increasing prominence.
Paddlefish is often referred to as ‘American caviar’ because it is one of only few types of caviar from North America. The paddlefish is related to the sturgeon fish and is predominantly found in the Mississippi river. Paddlefish eggs are generally small in size, but they possess an earthy taste unlike the flavour of other brands, making them an irreplaceable variety. During the Cold War, the USA made of point of recommending this caviar to the public as an alternative to the more popular and revered Russian varieties that it was intended to be a replacement for. It didn’t work but it did increase the popularity of this most overlooked of caviars.
The lumpfish is a north Atlantic fish capable of producing huge amounts of caviar that is widely distributed around the world. Lumpfish eggs have a pale appearance which often leads to some snobby caviar enthusiasts regarding it as inferior to others. This has often led manufacturers to dye lumpfish eggs with black or orange shades so that they appear more valuable. Although their taste is impressive, they are less salty compared to other eggs, leading many producers to add salt to them during production to create a more recognisable taste. One major benefit to the production of lumpfish caviar is that it stays fresh for long periods and can even last for years if kept refrigerated.
Liam Brennan is a blogger with extensive caviar knowledge. He recommends CaspianCaviar.co.uk for buying all types of caviar and other seafood products.