What's Being Said About American Caviars
The boutique Petrossian Paris offers Transmontanus caviar from white sturgeon farmed in the United States. It has been the featured item in its holiday catalogs since 2002, in which Petrossian highlights the American caviar’s quality as comparable “to the finest Ossetra, sure to excite the most discerning palate.” (Dec 2002-2004)
Chef and television personality Jacques Pépin told New York Newsday that "American caviar has made great strides." (Dec 24, 2003) He also wrote in a New York Times opinion-editorial, "The international trade in beluga caviar ought to be halted until the fish that produce it are no longer threatened with extinction. During this time, caviar lovers might try the roe of United States farm-grown sturgeon, which has improved tremendously in the last few years and is more affordable than Caspian caviar." (July 3, 2001)
Chef Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora and Asia Nora in Washington, DC, served wasabi-infused whitefish caviar from California this New Year's Eve and told the Washington Post that "today, American caviar is excellent…the flavor is very compatible," Pouillon said. "My customers do not miss beluga." (Dec 31, 2004)
Chef Rick Moonen of Restaurant RM in New York City removed Caspian caviar from his menu in 2001 and replaced it with American farmed varieties. He told TIME magazine, “Caspian caviar was the benchmark of what caviar was supposed to be. But when I noticed a decline in the quality of Caspian caviar a few years ago, I started shopping for alternatives.” (Dec 23, 2002) In an interview with Gourmet magazine, “I love buying American caviars. These are great products, and they’re sustainable.” (Dec 2001). In Wine Spectator magazine, Moonen said of U.S. caviars, “What we’ve got is a great-quality product that’s finally coming into its own.” (Dec 31, 2001). In a piece aired on NPR, Moonen told reporter Douglas Meyer, “You can absolutely enjoy rainbow trout caviar off the spoon.” (Jan 2005).
Chef Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière in San Francisco also has switched to American caviar. She told the city’s 7x7 magazine that Sterling caviar from California is “comparable to anything coming out of the Caspian. I think anyone would be hard pressed to tell the difference.” (Winter 2001)
A year after Jardinière began serving American caviar, manager Larry Bain remarked in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, “[The white sturgeon roe] really has caught on. People are appreciating that it's a situation where everyone wins. The flavor is there, it's good for the environment and it's good for the sturgeon." (Dec 18, 2002)
Chicago celebrity chef Charlie Trotter told Seafood Business magazine that white sturgeon caviar has a "lovely creaminess and headiness." According to the magazine, Trotter goes through about five pounds of white-sturgeon caviar a month at his namesake restaurant.
In an article written for US Airways’ in-flight magazine, Attaché, writer Jennifer Pilla Taylor found farmed rainbow trout roe to be “gold gems” that are “cheerful, crisp and mild.” (Feb 2004)
Bon Appétit magazine featured a selection of American caviars that are “winning over connoisseurs and are perfect for holiday entertaining.” Hugh Garvey, the writer of the shopping guide, credited the “earthy and nutty-flavored” white sturgeon caviar as rivaling the pricier Caspian osetra. Garvey also gave complimentary reviews on a variety of roes from other species, including paddlefish, trout, whitefish, salmon and hackleback. (Dec 2003)
In an article for the Philadelphia Enquirer, writer Inga Saffron found American buyers can choose from a rainbow of salted fish roes, that are “tasty in their own right and can add color (not to mention volume) to a caviar sample.” (Dec 2004)
Food & Wine magazine highlighted roe from rainbow trout as a “bright and briny freshwater version of caviar” and a good alternative to Caspian osetra caviar. (Dec 2003)
In a television interview with CNNfn, New York Newsday food writer Ramin Ganeshram praised white sturgeon caviar farmed in the United States as “very good quality.” (Dec 26, 2003)
In a product review for the holiday season, New York Times food writer Florence Fabricant wrote that caviars from white sturgeon farmed in California are “reminiscent of nice Russian osetra.” (Dec 24, 2003)
BusinessWeek magazine wrote in an article entitled “Move Over, Beluga,” that caviar produced from American fish farms is “so good it rivals the Caspian's best.” For environmental and quality reasons, author Amy Cortese states, “American caviar is the choice of a growing number of connoisseurs and chefs,” and “with a clean, nutty taste, Sterling caviar is a crowd pleaser.” (April 28, 2003)
TIME magazine pointed out “America’s craving for caviar has pushed [beluga sturgeon] to the brink of extinction.” Anita Hamilton, author of the piece “The Beluga Blues” reports, “As Caspian caviar gets harder to come by, roe from native white sturgeon and its close cousin, the paddlefish, is becoming increasingly popular.” (Dec 23, 2002)
Forbes fyi magazine ranked Sterling caviar among the best American caviars, offering “subtle, very caviary-tasting roe. Easily of the firmness and quality level of most Caspian roe,” author Richard Nalley stated. “These briny, buttery eggs will open your mouth to the new era in U.S. caviar.” (Winter 2002)
Wine Spectator magazine wrote an in-depth feature on American caviar titled “Good Eggs:” This holiday season, domestic caviars come to the rescue of the endangered Caspian Sea sturgeon.” In the editor’s taste test, she wrote of Sterling Classic caviar from California: “The balance of rich, nutty elements with its clean ocean character is nearly perfect. And of the paddlefish roe: “Pair it with something toasty and a little fatty and it makes a fine companion for Champagne.” (Dec 31, 2001)
Gourmet magazine ran a taste test and wrote, “Caviar is synonymous with luxury, but it may soon be associated with extinction … Your caviar dreams don’t have to be an environmental nightmare. In a tasting of several farm-raised domestic caviars, we found Sterling Classic white sturgeon caviar from Stolt Sea Farm truly delicious and fresh-tasting, with a great texture. And even among those of us who don’t really like salmon roe, the rainbow trout caviar from Sunburst Trout Company elicited raves.” (Dec 2001)
Metropolitan Home magazine featured Sterling caviar as a “new classic” to the Caspian Sea caviar “old classic,” stating, “Similar in taste yet less expensive than the Caspian Sea product, which is threatened by dwindling wild sturgeon stocks, the California roe has become a favorite of eco-friendly chefs across the country.” (Nov/Dec 2001)
Marian Burros, food columnist for the New York Times, in a blind tasting conducted during the holiday season, was impressed with “the bursts of nutty flavor that came from [the white sturgeon caviar’s] firm little grains.” (Nov 13, 2002)
In a taste test of caviars from farm-raised white sturgeon in California, Jay Harlow, correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, said, “Both brands compare favorably to Caspian malossol osetra in size and bitcoin evolution legit content, though they are typically much darker in color (almost black versus olive-gray). I find the flavor very fresh, if a little milder than Caspian osetra, but I think I prefer it.” (Dec 26, 2001)
For more information on eco-friendly, great-tasting American caviars, and for a complete report on the decline of Caspian Sea sturgeon, see www.caviaremptor.org or contact or Julia Roberson at [email protected].
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