Cavair == Fish eggs, specifically salted fish roe. From the Turkish "havyar" meaning egg.

All "caviar" comes from sturgeon. All caviar not from sturgeon must be labeled as such (example: salmon caviar).

The most popular forms of caviar are:
Beluga
Osetra
Sevruga

All three of these are from sturgeon, and come primarily from Russia (the Caspian Sea), although the USA, Iran and Japan have a reasonable amount of caviar production.

Beluga is by far the most renowned caviar, it is mild in flavor. Beluga eggs are rather large in size and range in color from pearly grey to black (with the lighter shades considered more desirable although most gourmands agree that color has little to do with the actual taste). Beluga should break gently against the palate.

Osetra are medium sized eggs ranging from translucent golden brown to black in color. It is characterized by a slight nutty flavor, and is beginning to overtake Beluga in its popularity.

Sevruga are smaller eggs with a strong, complex flavor and soft texture.

"Malossol" caviar is a descriptive label placed upon caviar that has been processed to hold 3-3.5% salt. This is a label of quality and can be applied to any specific caviar. Those who have been turned off to caviar in the past for it being too salty should look for the Malossol label.

Farmed caviar - The USA produces high quality Osetra caviar from white sturgeons in California, these fish are given a very controlled diet and produce a consistent quality. However supplies are very limited and demand is high.

American caviar - Taken from Hackleback or Paddlefish sturgeon in the Southern and Midwestern US, this caviar is rather economical, but lacks the complexity and depth of flavor of Russian or farmed caviar.

Salmon caviar - Inexpensive and generally very salty, salmon caviar is produced all over the world. It is very popular in Japanese cuisine and has recently been making headway in the US. The eggs are very large and burst in the mouth.

A fourth type of caviar, known as sterlet, the 'golden' caviar, is extremely rare and very expensive.

Serving caviar - caviar should never be served with a metal spoon! The edges of the spoon can break the eggs and the metal can affect the taste of the caviar. Special Caviar spoons should be used. These are usually made from a shell or animal horn.

Caviar is high in protein, and very nutritious. Unless you've got some moral, dietary or financial reason for not trying some, you should give it a go. I myself enjoy sturgeon caviar a couple times a year, and salmon caviar each time I hit the sushi bar.
Sources: Tsar Nicoulai Caviar homepage, Sterling caviar homepage, and my own personal experience. Special thanks to Chelman for providing some additional information.
Caviar has a bit of a reputation as an aphrodisiac, and that has led to the existence of a bawdy song about these fish eggs. It is to the tune of a song called "Reuben, Reuben I've Been Thinking," which I have never heard of in my life.

The chorus of the song goes like this:
Caviar comes from a virgin sturgeon
A virgin sturgeon's a very rare fish
A virgin sturgeon needs no urgin
That's why caviar's my favorite dish!


The verses all start with the line "I gave caviar to X," with X being a person, and then three more lines describing the fun that ensues.

Here are two example verses I see floating around the Internet:
I gave caviar to my girlfriend,
She was a virgin through and through,
Since I gave my girlfriend caviar,
There ain't nothing she won't do.

I gave caviar to my grandpa,
Grandpa's age is ninety-three,
Last time that I saw grandpa,
He's chased grandma up a tree.


Now my personal experience with seeing this song performed was by the Wench Singers at the New York Renaissance Faire where I worked this summer. The wenches were all responsible for their own verses (as they sung the chorus together, then a verse would be sung solo to someone in the audience) and were always coming up with some fuckin' hilarious lines involving "hunters shooting their load" and Robin Hood's Greenwood being "where more than plans get laid." Most of the fun of the song is in making up the new verses. Unfortunately, I only remember one of them fully right now, but here it is:

I gave caviar to a Puritan,
It is quite a delicacy,
Delicate is not that Puritan,
He praises God by spanking me!


Should you ever visit the NYRF, I would advise you to check the Wench Singers out. :)
Band members :
Blake Smith: vocals, guitar
Dave Suh: guitar, vocals, keyboards
Mike Willison: bass, vocals, keyboards
Jason Batchko: drums

Caviar formed in Chicago in 1998 and contains two members of the former band Fig Dish. The band has had songs that appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gone in 60 Seconds and Charlie's Angels. Their single "Tangerine Speedo" has been played on a few radio stations around the US. Their music is a really unique mix of rock, lounge, electronic, pop, and a little bit o' punk. "Goldmine" is Caviar's second single, and is still working its way into mainstream radio. They have been featured on compilation albums but have only released one major album, the self titled "Caviar".

Lyrics for songs appearing on the self titled album:

1. Ok Nightmare
2. Goldmine
3. Tangerine Speedo
4. The Good Times Are Over
5. I thought I was Found
6. Flawed Like A Diamond
7. Going out Tonight
8. Sugarless
9. Automatic Yawns
10. Looked So Hard I Nearly Wrecked My Eyes
11. I Am The Monument

(The cd does not contail a lyric sheet, so these are a common interpretation. I'll update them when offical lyrics are posted on the band's site www.caviarmy.com)

My father is demonstrating
the fine art of constructing
a caviar blini
.

Silently proffering

Grill the blini.
Soft and warm
Golden, pocked

"Another?"

A wildly heaped teaspoon
of cool white sour cream
Pile on black caviar

"And now I know you want another one.
Because that's how life is."

A twist of lemon
deftly removing an errant pip
with the end of the caviar spoon

"You don't really want another one,
but you could manage one."

Finally,
a dash of pepper
Finely ground

Satisfied.

Satisfied.

Ca*viare" (?), Cav"i*ar (?), n. [F. caviar, fr. It. caviale, fr. Turk. Haviar.]

The roes of the sturgeon, prepared and salted; -- used as a relish, esp. in Russia.

Caviare was considered a delicacy, by some, in Shakespeare's time, but was not relished by most. Hence Hamlet says of a certain play. "'T was caviare to the general," i. e., above the taste of the common people.

 

© Webster 1913.

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