For some, Christmas is all about a little indulgence, spoiling yourself and your family with all sorts of delicious food. If you’re looking to really go all out this year, get yourself some sturgeon caviar. Atop party canapés, or as a starter this season before festive feast, caviar is a luxury that never goes out of fashion. While the finest stuff originally came from the Caspian and Black Seas, it’s now produced in Asia and easily accessible in Singapore.
Singaporean producer, Benjamin Goh, Founder and CEO of Caviar Colony, operates four sturgeon farms across China and started trading in what is widely regarded as one of the most decadent of treats. “Caviar is perfect at Christmas time and has been a ritual throughout history, particularly in Russia”, he says. “It is, of course, expensive and this is why it is reserved for special occasions such as the holiday season.”
The fact that Champagne is a popular pairing option only adds to the ceremony behind eating the delicacy. “If the caviar is of good quality it will be less salty and will have a creamier flavor, which is why the citrus and yeasty aromas from the Chardonnay grapes in a Brut Blanc de Blanc Champagne pair well – the drier the better,” Benjamin explains. “If this is the case, the caviar should be eaten on its own. Salty caviar can be eaten with blinis, though.”
Some purists would say that caviar should only ever be paired with vodka and this is, indeed, how many enjoy it as the spirit brings out and prolongs the flavor of the roe. “As with the pairing of all fine ingredients, make sure you choose a brand of vodka that equals the quality of your caviar,” Benjamin says. “Otherwise you will do it a disservice.”
Benjamin’s farms produce around 50 tons of five different varieties of sturgeon caviar each year, ranging from Amur and Kaluga Hybrid, which he recommends for those who are new to this luxury, right up to the most princely of caviar, Kaluga. Kaluga has a similar creamy and nutty flavor to Beluga and is rapidly becoming the sustainable alternative to its endangered counterpart.
Although Kaluga may be king, Benjamin’s pride is actually in his mid-range caviar, Russian Hybrid, which he achieves by breeding female Osetra with male Siberian sturgeon. “We’re the first to produce this hybrid and this is the first year of harvesting it – it has an after-taste of Japanese grapes and is proving popular as we have lots of orders.”
English teacher Hannah, when not in the classroom, is a nighthawk who loves to explore what Singapore has to offer after dark. Between school semesters she is an avid traveler and enjoys hopping over to neighboring countries in Asia.
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