The best caviar in the world has been deemed Beluga, according to the widely accepted historic caviar hierarchy. Out of the 27 species of sturgeon from around the world, Caspian Sea sturgeons are respected as having the best caviar. Beluga caviar comes from the Beluga (not to be confused with the whale) or Huso Huso sturgeon, a species that was once prominent in the Caspian Sea. This impressive sturgeon has been said to grow up to one ton and up 30 feet in length, holding over 100 pounds of roe! Unfortunately, this species is virtually extinct in it’s native Caspian Sea habitat and Beluga caviar has been banned from import to the U.S. Farming these giants is not economically realistic, as it takes up to 12 years for the females to produce roe for caviar.
According to the caviar hierarchy, the next best caviar in the world is Osetra (also known as Oscietra, Asetra, Ossetra), made from roe of the Russian Sturgeon (Acipenser Gueldenstaedtii). Like Beluga, Russian sturgeon also originate from the Caspian Sea. Although this species is critically endangered in the wild, they are responsibly farmed right here in the U.S. using recirculating aquaculture systems. Ostera caviar is known for its nutty, buttery flavor and firm texture.
Considered the third best caviar in the world is Baeri from Acipenser baeri (or Siberian Sturgeon). Like Russian sturgeon and Beluga, Siberian sturgeon are also critically endangered in the wild. Like Acipenser Gueldenstaedtii, this species can be farmed and it’s roe is sold around the world.
Out of the 27 species of sturgeon from around the world, Caspian Sea sturgeons are respected as having the best caviar in the world in regards to texture, flavor and color. Other available caviars include White Sturgeon caviar (Acipenser Transmontanus), as well as paddlefish and hackleback. These are less expensive alternatives to the more renowned Osetra caviar. Whichever caviar you chose, just remember that U.S. farmed caviar is a best choice for sustainable seafood.