Unfortunately, not all of us were born with silver spoons, or the proper etiquette to know how to eat caviar. So, it can be quite a humbling experience if you find yourself at a social event, without knowing how to go about it. Before going any further, the answer is no, you don’t chew caviar. A few rules to bear in mind before going into details.
First, the better the caviar, the fewer garnishments and condiments needed to accompany it. Yes, aside from being absurdly expensive, caviar comes in different grades, including high grade Russian and Iranian caviar like Caspian Monarque, each more expensive than the other. And if you ever order it at a restaurant, it won’t be served alone. Caviar purists will prefer it plain – with the exception of a Champaign serving, but the rule of thumb is to always work according to your palette. If you don’t like it alone, you can put the caviar on a condiment.
Second, caviar is better served cold. If you’re a novice and don’t know your palette, yet don’t want to embarrass yourself, slyly read the instructions on the pack it’ll most likely be served in. Caviar’s one of the only foods where it’s ethical to serve with the package because it grows warm without it, and warm caviar can sprout some serious bacteria – even at room temperature. If you bought this delicacy to savor alone, within the confines of your room, make sure you leave whatever’s left in the case, and return it to the refrigerator (not freezer, so it won’t lose its texture when it freezes).
Third, caviar absorbs the taste of metal or silver, so as much as possible, make sure you use a mother of pearl, ivory or bone material spoon when eating otherwise you’ll ruin the taste. We recommend that you stick with mother of pearl as it comes from the sea, because others like bone and ivory might raise concerns about illegal poaching of animals, and that’s not a thought most people want.
Having learned the slight nuances of serving caviar, do you chew it?
No! Most caviar amateurs will tell you the flavor came on too strong, or that they don’t see why it’s so expensive, and will just conclude it’s one of those “rich people foods”, peasants can’t possibly enjoy, but the truth is unless you know how to eat it properly, you’re going to get the flavors wrong. So how is it consumed? People just don’t shove full spoons of caviar down their throats, do they? No, but that’s a pretty close thought.
How to Eat Caviar Properly
When eating high grade caviar like Caspian Monarque, experts advice that you take it like you would at a wine tasting. You hold a spoonful (or a mother of pearl full, bone spoonful) of caviar at your nose to take in all the aromas, then put the spoon – upside down – in your mouth so the caviar beads make direct contact with your tongue.
Resist the urge to chew, because you don’t have any taste buds in your teeth. You want to use your tongue to feel/melt the buttery fat away from the beads. This necessitates that you spread the caviar all over your tongue, so it hits different zones. The higher grade the caviar is, the more complex its taste notes will be. You might even be left with an after taste, even when you’ve swallowed it all, so don’t chase it down with Champaign yet.