CASPIAN GOLD: CAVIAR AS IT IS
«The Golden Pearls»
of the Royal Fish

Each tiny fish-egg is glowing softly on the nacreous bed. Over the entire history of human race, no delicacy has inspired nor earned such awe and admiration

THE PERSIAN EMPIRE
The rulers of Persia valued the caviar’s mystical power, which they exposed to the world, beyond any treasure

In spawning season, giant fishes easily overturned frail boats, foredooming the fishers to a sacrificial death in the cold waters of the Caspian Sea. The roe – procured with such a terrible risk – was immediately sprinkled with sea-salt and then served to the rulers fresh – as soon as possible. The caviar was believed to cure a multitude of diseases as well as to possess invigorating power and to grant the kings a healthy progeny.

The name for the viand for the elect, meaning literally the source of authority, was borrowed from the Persian by a wide range of nations. It didn’t change much through the centuries, and still it sounds almost identically in Italian, Turkish, English, etc. Yet the word itself cannot impart the exquisite, rich taste, until you palate it in your own mouth.

THE CLASSICAL WORLD
A rare delicacy, mentioned by Aristotle as early as 4th century BC, was brought to the tables of ancient Greece from the colonies

A tiny vial filled with no more than a hundred of black fish-eggs was more valuable that a herd of a hundred sheep.

The ancient Romans extolled the curative properties of the caviar to such extent that a whole array of trumpeters announced that a rarity was served during a feast, while each dish of roe was decorated with garlands of natural flowers.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the shadows of the Dark Ages shrouded Europe, and the cavial literally disappeared in those shadows. It vanished.

RUSSIA
In 12th century AD, the caviar was rediscovered by Russian fishers

Ever since, the caviar is associated with Russia, the Tsars’ treasuries, and the appetites of the aristocracy.

Tsar Peter the Great used to devour incredible amounts of caviar. Every year 11 tons of roe were sent to the court of Nicholas II from Astrakhan and Azerbaijan as a tribute for the royally authorized fishing.

The first mentioning of caviar as an appetizer is found in a book by François Rabelais

The French expression hors d’oeuvre renders shades of meaning as delicate and subtle as the nuance of the noble taste – from a masterpiece and a setting for a jewel to a virtuous endeavor.

EUROPE
The caviar was returned to Europe by Roman Pontiff Julius II

He was a patron of arts, sponsoring the monumental frescos by Michelangelo in Sistine Chapel, and had a reputation of a gourmand, who took it to present the delicacy to ceremonial feasts of every royal court he visited.

The French Minister of Finances Jean-Baptiste Colbert well known for his assiduity and strategic plans reaching for centuries into the future tried to develop the roe harvesting in the Gironde estuary, where sturgeons come to breeding. Yet the taste of caviar procured from Volga River near the Caspian Sea ranked second to none, and they could not manage to match it.

RUSSIA
With the outbreak of the Great War and, later, the Russian Revolution, the aristocracy took their lordly habit of eat caviar to emigration

In 1920, Charles Ritz has finally added the delicacy to the menu of his hotel in Paris.

THE OTHER COUNTRIES
Elitism and excess – that is how caviar was perceived for a long time in the United States, Switzerland, Japan and the countries of the Persian Gulf

The bankers’ wives made boasts of feeding the roe to their favorite cats. The Sheikhs ordered large amounts of caviar to bath in it. The golden niche exploited by the manufacturers and suppliers of the black caviar shrank dramatically in the beginning of the 20th century. The wild sturgeon population decimated in Europe had been put to a brink of extinction in the waters of the Caspian Sea, as well. The admirers of fine jewels may remember a similar story with natural emeralds – there are none left on our planet.

Unlike most other articles of luxury that are generally available nowadays, the price of caviar grew over a period of 50 years by 40 times

The rulers of ancient Persia would, probably, nod their approval from the shores of the Caspian Sea as their fetish has recovered its bygone aura. And it is not the matter that the most precious caviar of an albino sturgeon costs now on par with first grade gemstones аnd a package of it is covered with 24 ct gold.

It is much more important to think about the true value of the black caviar. There are few among the suppliers who would not disappoint the connoisseurs of the authentic taste. Choose the ones who follow the golden rule: the caviar demands respect. Pay it its due.