How to Buy, Serve and Enjoy Caviar
Eating caviar is a special event. So do it up right. First, know how much to buy. Caviar is sold by the ounce or in grams. An ounce of caviar is just over 28 grams, which is about one serving. If you’re buying caviar ahead of time, store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator where it can last up to four weeks though try not to let it go past three. Once opened, caviar should be consumed within 48 hours.
There are a variety of caviar servers or presentoirs made of glass or metal, such as sterling silver, that can cost upwards of $500. Depending on the size of the server, four to eight ounces of caviar is placed in a bowl, which is then nestled into a larger bowl filled with ice. While this may look attractive, there is always a chance that ice or water can get into the caviar and spoil it. You also don’t want to serve caviar too cold. (It should be about 50 degrees F.) My advice is to put the opened caviar tin on an attractive plate and dig in.
Mother-of-pearl spoons are the connoisseur’s choice for digging because they show off the caviar beautifully and don’t impart any flavors. Failing that, use a spoon made of bone or gold. Never use silver because it gives the caviar a metallic taste. Even plastic is better.
Caviar is often sold with blini (small, thin pancakes) and crème fraiche. But these only mask the taste of good caviar, which needs nothing more to accompany it than something good to drink. Well-chilled vodka has long been a favorite with caviar. But, please, nothing flavored. Champagne is more festive but it should be one that is as dry as possible, an extra or ultra brut is excellent. I also like a fine Chablis, whose minerality provides a good match for the caviar. A surprisingly good choice is a steely dry Alsatian Riesling, which also has those characteristics.