The tricks of the trade to buying caviar.

If you are thinking about serving caviar at your next party, there a few things you should know before you make a purchase to ensure you are getting the best-quality caviar for the money you spend. Here is what you should be asking, prior to your purchase:

  1. What type of caviar should I buy?
    1. How much should I spend?
  2. How much caviar will I need? 
    1. How many guests do you plan on inviting, and how many will be eating caviar?
  3. What do I serve with the caviar? 

Ideally, in order to ensure the caviar you buy and serve is of the highest quality, you should only buy your caviar from reputable dealers. Once you have decided on a dealer, the following guidelines should help with planning the amount and answer other questions you may have.

Caviar Buying Guidelines: 

The type(s) of Caviar to buy: 

Like fine wine, or aged scotch, caviar tasting is subjective. Some people prefer a mild buttery flavor (Beluga), while others prefer a sharper ocean flavor (Siberian for example); while still others prefer an earthy, robust flavor (Osetra). In addition, many people have never tried caviar, or if they have, have never tried a variety of caviars and decided which flavor they liked best. In this regard, unless you know the taste buds of all your guests, or whether they fall into the novice or aficionado category, your safest bet is to purchase a small selection of mild-to-medium caviar flavors that will suit both first-time eaters, and long-time caviar pros.

Ask your market manager what he/she recommends from the flavor scale and buy accordingly.

The amount of Caviar to buy: 

The following are just guidelines. The amount of caviar you buy and serve will depend on the number of guests, and their eating habits as well. A little does go a long way.

  • A good rule of thumb is that you can get between 8-10 servings per ounce of caviar (1/2 teaspoon portions) or 16-20 servings per ounce of caviar (1/4 teaspoon portions).

Option 1: Serving out of the tin- allowing guests to serve themselves (served with crackers, toast points, or blinis):

  • For non-caviar fans, or guests trying caviar for the first time: factor ½ ounce of caviar per person.
  • For caviar aficionados, factor 1 ounce of caviar per person.
  • So a 2-ounce tin or jar should be adequate to serve at least 4 people (2 from each group).

Option 2: Serving appetizers or canapés using caviar in the recipe, or as garnish (but want to maintain the caviar flavor)

  • Use ½ teaspoon of caviar per appetizer served. 
  • Each guest will likely consume 2-4 appetizers.
  • So a 2-ounce tin or jar should be adequate to serve at least 8 people.
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