By Fran Berger:
What could be more indulgent than hosting a Caviar and Champagne party? I asked myself that a few weeks ago so I decided to do exactly that, have friends over to enjoy two of my favorite things. It takes a small amount of planning but is a great way to spend a Saturday night with your favorite people.
Typically, you hear about Beluga (but no matter how much you want to pay you can’t find Wild Russian Beluga Caviar unless it’s black market – its import is banned!), Osetra and Sevruga, all of which come from different types of Sturgeon and can be either wild or farmed. There are many countries now producing very good farmed caviar, including the U.S., Italy, Israel and even the UK. But, you only want to buy fresh caviar, not frozen and definitely not pasteurized – that will change the flavor and texture of the roe. Osetra has the mildest flavor with a medium size bead and Sevruga the strongest flavor with the smallest bead.
Buy caviar close to your party date as fresh caviar needs to be kept in the very coldest part of your refrigerator unopened and only for a couple of weeks. You need at a minimum .5 oz per person (I suggest at least 1 oz per person) and a couple of different types to taste the different flavors. Find mallosol caviar if you prefer the least amount of salt. Even if you buy all Osetra (you can find “caviar” from different types of other fish – salmon, paddlefish, etc.), the roe has a different taste depending on where the fish is caught. There are several places online to buy caviar but I like two – Wally’s Beverly Hills (their caviar is imported from Italy) and Petrossian (they have caviar from several countries).
If you don’t finish all of the caviar be sure to use it within 2-3 days (kept in a sealed container in the coldest part of your refrigerator-air is the enemy) – even on an omelet the next day!
Open the caviar 5-10 minutes prior to guests’ arrival and be sure to keep it on ice. There are some beautiful 2-piece caviar servers at GEARYS Beverly Hills. Use horn, bone, or mother of pearl spoons to serve.
Caviar can be served plain (for the purists), with lemon, or with minced onion, crème fraîche, minced chives, and sieved egg white and yolk and with blini and cocktail size pumpernickel bread. To complete your table, add some hand sliced smoked salmon or other smoked fish. And, per my Russian friend, it is always served with boiled potatoes – but use the petite/baby size mixed color potatoes tossed with butter and fresh dill.
Even though Caviar is typically served with very cold vodka I like to serve it with Champagne – especially two of my favorites: Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame and Ruinart Blanc de Blanc.
Create the perfect mood by setting the table with crystal, silver and fine bone china. Pull out all the stops and enjoy!
About the Author:
Fran Berger is an entrepreneur, lifestyle and home entertaining expert and a restaurateur. As a frequent media contributor, Fran shares and educates about the many creative ways that we can build and strengthen relationships; the way we can encourage interpersonal and intimate connections among those around us at mealtime. With her twenty-plus years of experience entertaining celebrities, family and friends in Beverly Hills as the founder of The Farm of Beverly Hills, and with her own personal life stories as a guide, she is passionate about sharing her unique food memories stored in her heart with others around the world; examples that epitomize the magnificently intimate as well as communal experience that enjoying food around the table can be.