Good caviar can’t be faked.

That is, perhaps, the best part about caviar. Those who have tasted real, high-quality caviar will always be able to tell the difference between caviar of calibur and $10 supermarket brands. Caviar from the supermarket is a great way to access the high-end bite, but it lacks the depth and flavor of what caviar could be. This is one reason why the best cheap caviar can never really be the best.

Why, exactly, is caviar so expensive? Oftentimes, these high caviar prices can be associated with restrictive import laws and the protection of sturgeon populations. Beluga sturgeon, most popular in top-of-the-line Russian and Iranian caviar, has such threatened populations in the Caspain Sea that the import of Russian beluga caviar to the United States has been restricted by CITES. However, these restrictions have forced other geographic parts of the caviar market to refine their craft and offer other types of high-quality caviar.

The Price of Caviar

Company # Types of Caviar $/oz Range Shipping Order
Global Seafoods 16 $50-$185 $16.20
Lummi Island Wild 3 $59-$112 $99+ Free
Vital Choice 3 $59-$170 $99+ Free


How to Buy Caviar

Some aficionados might say the best caviar online is the most expensive, but top-dollar price does not always guarantee quality. Here are some characteristics to look for:

  • Caviar is the salt-cured roe of sturgeon fish.  Likely, the best caviar online has undergone a Malossol process. “Malossol” meaning “little salt” in Russian, this process is a light salt curing process that gives caviar a delicate flavor.
  • Caviar that is under-salted or much too salty will not be agreeable to the palate, so it is important that the salt balance is struck.
  • The actual eggs themselves should be distinctly separate. The best caviar online will not combine together, but have clumped, singular eggs.
  • Mouth-feel is incredibly important for discerning high-quality caviar. The best caviar to buy tends to roll and then pop, and its release should be buttery and smooth.
  • Caviar should not necessarily taste fishy, but have a rich, salty flavor that complements its unique texture. Think ocean flavor, not fish.
  • It has been a hard and fast rule that the best caviar online, or anywhere, comes from the beluga, sevruga, or osetra sturgeon. However, other species of sturgeon, like kaluga, are also known to produce delicious caviar.
  • In fact, kaluga caviar is often a substitute for the hard-to-come-by beluga caviar. It might, in fact, be the best caviar for the price due to its accessibility and lovely flavor.
  • The Royal White sturgeon and American hackleback sturgeon also offer worthy caviars.


Where to Buy Caviar

The best place to buy caviar can be online, or perhaps a trusted local market that purveys high-end products. Building a relationship with seafood sellers can enhance the buying experience and create opportunities for new or exotic tastes. This tip holds true not just for caviar, but for all seafood purchases. Sellers, both online and in-person, will know the best tips for seasonal availability, quality of catch, and what to try next.

Most importantly is that YOU, the customer, genuinely likes whatever caviar is chosen. Lists of what “makes” high-quality caviar, or where the best place to buy caviar online is, are ultimately trumped by whatever makes your specific palate tick. Try a few, and enjoy!


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