Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Antidote for the Holiday Glut? Let Them Eat Caviar!

Are you snowed in under a drift of holiday cookies, candies and cakes?

Sweets to the sweet wouldn’t be so bad if everyone didn’t have the same gifting idea.

This holiday season, there’s something luxe and luscious to cut the sugar and stand out from the crowd of predictable food presents.

Accessible. Affordable. Eco-friendly. Just a few years ago, these words would never have popped to mind in describing one of the world’s most delicious indulgences. But caviar has a new kind of cachet, thanks to Sterling Caviar – the nation’s premiere caviar aquaculture operation.

Harvested from the revered white sturgeon native to the Pacific Coast, Sterling Caviar is winning over chefs like Thomas Keller and Nobu Matsuhisa as well as other culinary professionals who deem its taste and texture equal or superior to that of Caspian Sea caviar. But these tastemakers aren’t just praising Sterling’s fresh ocean character or balance of rich, nutty notes. They are equally captivated by the eco-friendly attitude and the sustainable process that allows this premium caviar to be produced.

Unlike wild-harvested caviar, Sterling Caviar is produced on a Northern California aquatic farm under exacting, controlled conditions. Each briny pearl is the result of a long, careful process that is regulated in accordance with FDA requirements. “Abiding by these regulations guarantees sturgeon are produced in an environmentally sustainable manner, and that they yield fresh, consistently high quality caviar,” says Sterling General Manager Peter Struffenegger. Sterling has also put into place a sophisticated genetics program that ensures the company will never have to return to the wild for broodstock in order to continue to satisfy consumer demand for premium caviar.

At Sterling, sturgeon are raised for 8 to 10 years before they begin to mature and their roe is harvested. The fish live in pristine, fresh water under the constant care of the fisheries team of ten biologists. They are fed a diet specifically formulated to meet their every nutritional need and to ensure that they produce a high quality caviar.

When the roe is finally ready for harvest, the entire operation (which takes place in an FDA approved and inspected processing plant) takes less than thirty minutes, resulting in the freshest possible caviar.

Sterling is the only caviar producer that ages its caviar for at least ninety days before it is released to the market. The caviar is kept cold and at peak freshness during this period, but is never frozen or pasteurized. The aging process marries the eggs with the salt and results in a delicate and complex flavor that is unmatched. So instead of the old school mantra of “Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga,” caviar connoisseurs are calling for Imperial, Royal, and Classic, the three grades of premium farm-raised caviar offered by Sterling.

Consumers can select from jars or tins in a variety of sizes ranging from 30 to 1800 grams:

Sterling Imperial Caviar reveals an unmistakable superiority in every essence of taste, texture, color and size. It is only available when upon inspection, roe that meets these standards is found. 30 grams: $88.

Sterling Royal Caviar is characterized by a larger, firmer bead and a delightfully rich and nutty flavor. 30 grams: $81.

Sterling Classic Caviar has been likened to Osetra, with a nutty flavor that is smooth and robust and small, firm pearls that glisten with a warm, dark color. 30 grams: $62.

For further information or to order Sterling Caviar for overnight delivery, please visit For additional background on the caviar industry today, please visit or

1 comment:

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