Thursday, May 24, 2012

What is Pressed Caviar?

Pressed Caviar is a dense briny paste composed of various caviar roe that have been damaged or discarded during processing and grading. Pressed caviar can also be made from mixtures of roes from various batches of different sturgeon varieties, including eggs that are overripe or immature, or otherwise deemed unsatisfactory for inclusion as true caviar.

The process of making pressed caviar is unique when compared to how traditional caviar is made. After the roe is cleaned and sieved, natural salt and water is added and left to settle for a handful of hours. This allows time for the salt to fully permeate each roe in the mixture. This process is very similar to how traditional caviar is handled, however the following steps are what distinguish pressed caviar from the traditional method.

In an act that would be sacrilegious to traditional caviar, the caviar mixture is now "pressed" with a lever press, extracting most of the oils from the roe. What remains is a dense pasty mass which is extremely salty and fishy in taste. This paste can now be used as a spread and can be applied like a butter or cream to various foods.

Traditionally, pressed caviar was exceedingly common as it was one of the first known methods of properly preserving sturgeon roe. Thus most references to "caviar" prior to the twentieth century usually refer to this "pressed" style of caviar, as no refrigeration existed, which would be necessary for the "traditional" style of caviar which is most common today.

The Russian term for pressed caviar is payusnaya ikra - the name deriving from the Russian word pay, which means to divide and share according to an agreement. When fisherman had caught sturgeon in the Caspian Sea, the processed, pressed and divided teh eggs between them, according to the ranking of the fisherman aboard.

The most popular pressed caviar was reputed to come from Salyan in Azerbaijan. The caviar was pressed into 480 kilogram barrels, then placed into air-tight seals and transported to various regions throughout Europe for sale.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Caviar Eating Contest held in Russia

Alexander Valov, a 49 year old Russian native, managed to consume 1.1 pounds of caviar in just under 90 seconds to take the title of Caviar Speed Eating Champion of Russia.

The event was held in a local restaurant in Moscow, and was estimated to cost organizers roughly $70,000 in caviar. The contest consisted of 12 contestants that were randomly picked from a lottery to compete in the event.

The winner, Mr. Valov, won a purse of $340 (10,000 rubles). The market price alone of the caviar he consumed is roughly $5,000. Impressive!

You can read more about the contest by clicking here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Larry David's Allergy to Caviar

Larry David, the brainchild behind the hugely successful sitcom "Seinfeld", is estimated to have earned upwards of $200,000,000 from the sale and syndication rights of the series.

When asked about the taste of success, the notably acerbic David recalled "I discovered that I'm allergic to caviar! It was the perfect metaphor for my life."

If only more of our employees and family had the same allergy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Caviar Sampling This Friday at Epicure Imports in Los Angeles

This Friday, May 11th, Caviar Express will be amongst one of several vendors at Epicure Import's Open Warehouse Sale in Los Angeles. Come on out and see us while tasting our varieties of caviar.

Doors will be open to the public on Friday from 12:30pm to 5:00pm. We will be offering samplings of various farmed raised caviars along with discounted pricing between 20%-30% off retail pricing. Additionally, having the chance to meet customers and caviar-enthusiast gives us the opportunity to talk caviar face-to-face while sampling at the same time!

Besides caviar, the open warehouse event allows customers to literally walk into Epicure's massive warehouse and sample/purchase French and other European delicacies at wholesale prices. Lines do form early, so we suggest planning accordingly. Additionally, we will have a small amount of Russian Ossetra Caviar available for purchase and sampling.

Epicure Imports warehouse is located at 6900 Beck Ave., in North Hollywood, CA 91605. For more information on Epicure, please visit there website here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

California Foie Gras Ban Looming

The highly controversial California ban on Foie Gras is set to take effect on July 1, 2012. The impending ban will prevent to production and sale of any product that has been derived from force feeding (gavaging) a bird to enlarge a liver beyond normal size.

With less than 2 months left before the state-wide ban takes effect, California chef's have assembled to convince the state legislature to halt the ban and to come to an amicable solution that would allow Californian's and notable restaurants to continue to use and sell Foie Gras while sourcing the delicacy from animal friendly sources that do not use the traditional gavaging method.

Chef's include Thomas Keller, known world-wide for the French Laundry, a high-end restaurant in Yountville, California, near Napa Valley. For more information, you can access the NY Times article here.