▪ THE PRODUCTS: Black Opal Platinum Reserve Caviar from Healthy Earth, and Sturgeon Royal White Caviar from Khavyar.
▪ THE STORY: Two new, U.S.-based companies (one in Florida) are changing the way we think about caviar — from wild, rare and unbearably expensive to sustainably farmed, available online and with more accessible prices.
Healthy Earth, in Sarasota, is working with Mote Marine Laboratory to develop sustainable, economically viable sources of seafood in the face of overfishing, pollution and increased demand. Its first efforts include Black Opal caviar, harvested from Mote’s farmed black sturgeon, with plans to develop bottarga from mullet roe, as well as fish oil, smoked fillets and fish meal, ensuring as little waste as possible.
Online retailer Khavyar recently unveiled more than a dozen varieties of imported and domestic caviar — all from sustainably farmed and wild-caught fish — with prices starting at $12 an ounce (for Amia Calva from wild U.S. bowfin) and up to $150 (for Osetra Belgian from farmed Russian sturgeon in Belgium).
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▪ THE TASTE TEST: A side-by-side tasting of Healthy Earth’s Black Opal Platinum Reserve and Khavyar’s Sturgeon Royal White — similarly priced domestic caviars from farmed sturgeon — revealed two exceptional, tiny-but-mighty jars of fish roe. The Black Opal’s plump, delicately firm pearls are flecked with colors of hunter green and gold. They have a light brininess and a finish similar to the lightly sweet cucumber flavor you get from a really fresh oyster. The Royal White has a solid charcoal or slate color, and its buttery, nutty flavors are reminiscent of an oaky chardonnay.
▪ THE PRICE: 1-ounce jars for about $100 plus shipping.