Characterized by a nutty, creamy, briny flavor, this delectable Oscietra, also spelled Ossetra or Osetra (A. gueldenstaedtii), is brown in color and is native to the Caspian Sea. The largest caviar farm in the world, Calvisius, is located in Northern Italy between Venice and Milan. Their outdoor operation allows water to flow freely between ponds so fish can thrive in fresh clean water.
Suggestions: Serve Ossetra atop Blinis, chilled potatoes, eggs, or simply by itself using a celebratory mother of pearl spoon.
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About Sturgeon and Caviar
There are 27 species of sturgeon each native to a different location around the world, but all in the Northern hemisphere. There are now farms in the Southern hemisphere, but oddly no sturgeon is native in this region. In 1900, the USA was the world’s largest producer of caviar, exporting 600 tons, mostly harvested from Pacific White Sturgeon and Atlantic Sturgeon with an average weight of 450lbs. Today’s total world consumption of caviar is approximately 360 tons. Sturgeon yield about 10% of their body weight when they are harvested; they are dispatched to harvest the caviar. About half of world’s production is from the Siberian sturgeon, Acipenser baerii. This species is used because they can be sexed in about 1 year whereas other species can take 5-6 years before the farm knows if the fish is male or female. Male fish are then used for meat while female fish are raised to maturity. Siberian sturgeon can be harvested in 7-9 years, whereas Oscietra (A. gueldenstaedtii) and white sturgeon (A. transmontanus) take approximately 12 years, and Beluga (Huso huso) and Kaluga (Huso dauricus) can take even longer. Notice that most of the sturgeon mentioned are Acipensers, 25 to be exact are vegetarians. Beluga and Kaluga are the only Huso sturgeon because they will eat little fish, worms, and clams. For this reason, they are the largest sturgeon.
About Osetra Caviar
Osetra sturgeon lives typically 60-80 years, though you can find studies of the fish living more than 100 years. The age of the sturgeon is important since while the bass ages, refined alterations occur in the egg’s flavor and color. Osetra mature, indicating that the eggs are available for pick, somewhere between 12-15 years in cool waters and between 8-10 years in warmer waters. On the sturgeon’s entire life Osetra caviar fades from dark caviar to amber tinted caviar and it develops a moderate fan quality which some have when compared with walnuts and cream.