BELUGA CAVIAR OR CHINESE CAVIAR?
Most people will see Caviar as just being overpriced fish eggs that are a luxury item and something, they would never waste their money on. But for those willing to spend their money on top-quality Beluga Caviar it should be a gourmet experience that is second to none, and matches the price that they are paying for the experience.
Unlike such gourmet items as Champagne, which officially has to come from the Champagne wine region of France, the word Caviar is used to define any type of fish eggs. Caviar comes in many forms and you can buy a selection of Caviar from Wal-Mart for well under $10.00 per ounce, even Beluga Sturgeon Caviar. But the real Beluga Caviar from the Caspian Sea etc. will cost you $200 to $300 per ounce if not more.
Of course, Caviar connoisseurs will be able tell the difference between the high-quality product and the cheaper variants, but could the casual diner who has just spent a lot of money to impress their business associates or a lover? I expect not…
In recent years Caviar from China has flooded the market and is being sold in Michelin-starred restaurants and the like internationally. The quality of the Chinese Caviar is reported to be almost as good as the original Beluga Caviar but at a far lower price. The question is do the customers in these restaurants know they are being served Chinese Caviar and not Caspian Beluga Caviar? Again, I expect not…
The Beluga Sturgeon fish is an endangered species, and the sale of its Caviar is strictly regulated, especially that of the Caspian Beluga Sturgeon. In recent years Beluga Sturgeon have been successfully bred for repopulation efforts and the production of high-quality Beluga Caviar in controlled environments in Italy and Florida in the United States.
The Caviar produced in China is from Kaluga Sturgeon fish which inhabits the saltwater Amur River basin. So, the Chinese Caviar is Kaluga Caviar as it comes from the Kaluga Sturgeon, it is not, as many fraudulently label it and sell it as, Beluga Caviar…
With such a high-cost product as Beluga Caviar there will always be fraud and cheaper products being passed off as the original. The problem is for the consumer having just ordered Beluga Caviar in a restaurant, is that they have to trust the restaurateur will serve them what they have paid for and not a far cheaper alternative.
As I stated earlier the word Caviar is used to describe any type of fish eggs and in the food and restaurant industry there is little or no official obligation for the sellers and servers to disclose the original source of Caviar. For the conscientious restaurateur always verify the products source and ensure the supply chain is secure and reliable. For the casual consumer being served an expensive tin of Beluga Caviar in an exclusive restaurant, do not be afraid ask the Caviar's source, it’s not unpolite, it’s shows confidence, and ensures you are getting the product you are paying for and not a Chinese knock off!
Counterfeit Investigations & Awareness