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History of Caviar in Russia
July 31, 2018 18:20


For many years red caviar has been a particular symbol of Russia in the world. This is not surprising, because this country is the world’s largest producer and exporter of this delicacy. Salmon caviar - a nourishing and tasty treat - is very popular among the population of Russia and neighboring countries. Red caviar has long stopped being a gourmet item affordable for the rich only. On the New Year or other Russian holidays, it finds its way to the dinner tables of numerous middle class families.

Caviar for Poor Fishermen
Actually, caviar was not considered a delicacy in ancient times. Two thousand years ago, the residents of Ancient Egypt and Phenicia extracted black caviar of sturgeons. In Russia, fishermen and hunters came to eat caviar from the 4th century AD. Thanks to its high nutrition and ability to satiate for a long time, caviar became a popular food to be dried and taken along for faraway hikes and trips. In the north of Russia, there were tribes that had no idea of bread even and used caviar instead.

Caviar for Russian Tsars

The Russian tsars started to be served caviar from the reign of Ivan the Terrible. In those times, black caviar was cooked in poppy milk or vinegar. Black caviar was also quite affordable for common people in Russia. Even average peasants could afford buying barrels of caviar. Caviar came to be salted in large quantities not before the 19th century. Earlier it was mostly dried, fried or boiled with porridge. Back then, it was not black caviar, but amber caviar of pike that was rated as rare delicacy.

Unknown Red Caviar
For a long time, red caviar remained unknown in Russia. Only after the study and settlement of the Far East and Siberia had begun, the salmonids accordingly their red caviar became available.
There was no question of where to buy caviar, as it was plentiful. The problem was that it spoiled quickly, so only those who lived close to the water could get it. Pancakes with caviar became a traditional Russian dish. At times caviar was so much that it was even mixed into pancake batter.


 

Russian Caviar for All of Russia and Europe
Peter the First made bold at the large-scale distribution of caviar and Russia became a long-time leader in producing it.
He 
propelled the opening of the first caviar company in Astrakhan, which started the flow of red caviar to the domestic market. This was the result of Russia's expansion to the east in the late 17th century.
As for Europe, caviar reached it much later. At the beginning of the 19th century, the well-known French cook Karem tasted black caviar in Saint Petersburg and wrote about it to France. He heard its name “caviar”, in Astrakhan itself. That’s how it was called by locals. Few people today are aware that the English word “caviar” is of Russian origin, as a matter of fact.
Till the October Revolution, Europe bought black caviar from Russia. Afterwards it was imported from Iran, then Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. In the USSR, common people never set eyes on black caviar, whereas red caviar was extremely rare. Hence was the stereotype that caviar is a delicacy for high society only.
Nowadays it is best to
taste various sorts of red caviar and salmon delicacies on your Baikal tour




Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Caviar Russian Cuisine Russian Traditions Russian Symbols  

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