Culture Luxurious Caviars Published Feb 2, 2009 10:00 AM Culture Michael Grimm SHARE BELUGA Pale to dark gray in color, with a buttery flavor, beluga is the largest, most expensive, and scarcest of the basic caviar varieties. It takes about twenty years for this sturgeon to begin producing roe, much longer than for other varieties, but mature females can weigh 2,500 pounds, and up to 10 percent of that is roe. Michael Grimm OSETRA Osetra caviar can vary greatly in color and flavor, but in general it has a richer-some would say nuttier-flavor than beluga. Michael Grimm GOLDEN OSETRA The golden caviar that was reserved for tsars was either the pale eggs of albino sturgeon (various species) or the yellow eggs of the sterlet. Golden osetra, though, is simply amber-hued osetra roe (the lighter color is a consequence of the fish’s diet). It is milder in flavor than dark osetra. Michael Grimm SEVRUGA Sevruga eggs are darker and smaller than those of beluga or osetra, and more affordable. Often preferred over other varieties by Russian connoisseurs, sevruga caviar has a more intense sea flavor. Michael Grimm SALMON ROE Russians call salmon roe red caviar. Strong in flavor, this roe is often served with garnishes as an appetizer. Michael Grimm PRESSED CAVIAR Thick caviar paste, called payusnaya, is made from the damaged or overly mature roe of various sturgeon species. Concentrated and salty, it is a Russian staple. Michael Grimm MORE TO READ RELATED Why Did a Seafood Watch Group Red-List American Lobster—and Cause an Uproar? The rating warns consumers to avoid it. Maine lobstermen are pushing back. READ NOW RELATED How to Choose and Cut a Durian, According to a Grower Don’t be daunted by the spikes—this odorous tropical fruit is a sweet, creamy delicacy. RELATED Reservation Apps Have Come for the Cocktail Bar It’s getting harder to drop in for a drink. Is that a bad thing?