Caviar on blinis with herb garnish
Debunking Longstanding Myths About Caviar
Wild sturgeon caviar from the Black Sea or Caspian Seas is considered the true form of caviar by some, particularly wildlife protection organizations like the WWF.
Wild Sturgeon
However, many use the term "caviar" for roe from other types of fish, like salmon, paddlefish, trout, or carp. The quality and flavor of the roe are more important than its source.
The famous black caviar, often seen on movie screens, comes from wild saltwater sturgeon, but caviar varies in color depending on the fish type, diet, and environment.
Always Black
Hues of "true caviar" from sturgeon include silver, gray, brown, amber, gold, and even pale yellow. Roe from fish like salmon, trout, and carp are typically red, pink, or orange.
Caviar has a reputation for being an indulgence only enjoyed by the fabulously wealthy, with premium caviar from wild sturgeon starting at around $100 to $200 per ounce.
Other types of caviar, while not a budget item, are far more affordable, including domestic salmon roe which costs around $8 an ounce. Caviar from farmed fish tends to be cheaper.
Russian caviar is traditionally considered the best due to its origins from the Black and Caspian Seas and its long-standing status as a culinary symbol of luxury.
Russian Is Best
Iran also produces premium caviar from the same waters. Modern fish farming and the use of roe from other species have enabled Italy, Spain, and China to produce quality caviars.
In 2005, the beluga sturgeon was recognized as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and it became illegal to import beluga caviar into the U.S.
Illegal In U.S.

In 2019, a Florida-based company, Sturgeon Aquafarms, was given the legal go-ahead to sell their sustainable, authentic beluga caviar, resulting in a recovery in the U.S. market.