A rare delicacy within reach

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business

A rare delicacy within reach

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business

Caviar Buying Guide: The Tastiest Tins Both Domestic and Imported

It's prime time to be a fish egg freak
Roe for Days
Roe for Days

It’s a very good time of year to be a fish egg freak, the kind who goes googly-eyed and wobbly in the knees over a creamy spoonful of sturgeon roe. Alexandre Petrossian of the New York-based caviar company says his Special Reserve Ossetra this season has a flavor, egg size, and all-around quality that he hasn’t seen in about 20 years -- only two kilos remain of the three that were recently harvested in China and it’s selling fast for $251 an ounce. We tasted the caviar at Bloomberg HQ and found it to be gorgeous, fat and sweet, with a delicate, almost miso-like flavor. Here’s what else to look out for right now, from smoked Midwestern trout roe to American farmed ossetra. Mother-of-Pearl Caviar Spoons provided by Dean & Deluca. ($65 for pack of six, deananddeluca.com)

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business
Malossol Golden
Malossol Golden

Tsar Nicoulai farms sturgeon in the U.S. to produce this exquisitely lush, nutty caviar. The gigantic beads are pale green and yellow, with a soft burst of umami. ($300 per ounce; tsarnicoulai.com)

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business
Arctic Char
Arctic Char

A little intense on its own, this hickory-smoked, sake-cured char roe is absolutely fantastic on crème fraîche-loaded latkes, halved boiled potatoes with fresh herbs, or butter-dressed spaghetti. ($48 for 4 ounces; blisgourmet.com)

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business
Malossol Reserve
Malossol Reserve

California-based Tsar Nicoulai's creamy Reserve line had a gorgeous green sheen (which reminded us of puy lentils) and a long sweet finish. ($125 per ounce; tsarnicoulai.com)

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business
Alverta President
Alverta President

Petrossian's beautiful, buttery Alverta caviar is farmed in California and delivers a complex, impossibly meaty flavor. ($125 per ounce; petrossian.com)

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business
American Ossetra
American Ossetra

From Catsmo, a smokehouse in the Catskills that packs (un-smoked) caviar for Solex, these juicy, sparkling beads come in a chic black and gold tin. The flavors are mild and delicately nutty, and the texture ever so slightly firm. ($110 per ounce; solexfinefoods.com)

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business
Steelhead
Steelhead

Steven Stallard’s trout roe from the Midwest is affordable and has a sweet, fishy pop, like a big wet kiss from a mermaid. Just one tin on the table can make it feel like a party! Load potato chips with crème fraîche and trout roe, then serve with Champagne. ($48 for 4 ounces; blisgourmet.com)

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business
Kaluga (Huso Hybrid)
Kaluga (Huso Hybrid)

Petrossian harvests these pale, juicy beads from a hybrid species of Japanese sturgeon and the giant Kaluga (a fish that can reach over 2,000 pounds). It's excellent, not too salty, but bursting with a velvety, intense oceanic essence. ($251 per ounce; petrossian.com)

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business
Ossetra President
Ossetra President

This farmed, imported ossetra is very rich and creamy, just the thing if you want to do the whole caviar thing with the old-school accoutrements of blinis and sour cream. Just don't forget nothing beats eating it plain, right off the spoon (mother-of-pearl, ideally). ($251 per ounce; petrossian.com)

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business
A Rare Delicacy
A Rare Delicacy

A note: Wild sturgeon roe continues to be sold, often illegally on the black market, but keep in mind many breeds of this fish are almost at the point of extinction. So, wild sturgeon need their eggs more than you do. Farmed sturgeon has not only caught up to meet international demand, from California to Devon, England, but the products can be excellent. If you're still mourning the old days of wild caviar, get it together. Then order an ounce of Tsar Nicoulai's Golden Reserve.

Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business