An important aspect for anybody that knows and loves caviar is the salting and maturation of the caviar in the production process. Beyond the environment, the fish and how it is cultivated; production is extremely important and has a big impact on the caviars taste and texture.
To make it simple there are generally 4 ways in which caviars are processed:
- Fresh Caviar
- Organic/Pasteurized Caviar
- Russian Style Caviar
- Iranian Style Caviar
Each style has its own characteristics and people's preferences vary accordingly.
Fresh Caviar - involves adding minimal salt and the shelf life is usually less than 3 months. Roes sizes can be larger due to more water being present; over time, the flavour tends to enrich as the water is slowly extracted. These types of caviars tend to have a more delicate and subtle flavour profile.
Organic/Pasteurized Caviar - The caviar is pasteurized as to preserve the shelf life of the product. This leads to the product being augmented in flavour and texture where the roe’s are harder; typically used in the catering industry.
Russian and Iranian Style Caviar - These styles involve salting the caviars and letting them mature over time, extracting the water and enriching the flavour. Iranian style caviars are allowed to mature longer than Russian style caviars.
Russian style caviars mature on average about 4 months and are creamy in texture and have notes of dried fruit. Iranina style caviars mature on average about 7 months; it is therefore stronger and has notes of butter and brioche.