The first people known to have eaten Caviar were the Persians living in what is now Azerbaijian in the glory days of the Persian Empire. The name of the delicacy as they called it, “Chav Jar” translates to “Cake of Power”, no doubt a pun of sorts on the manner in which it comes and those that are able to eat it. The delicacy was soon exported and as powers rose and fell in the world, so too did those that were able to afford and consume the fine dish.
The economic value and power of a jar of caviar continued well through the Roman Empire’s reign. It’s said that when caviar was served to the Emperor, it was brought in among garlands of flowers and heralds trumpeted its arrival. Czars of Russia were among the only given the luxury of its consumption during the glory days of their power, especially after Russia took control of the area in which the Persians first discovered the treat.
As far back as the 2nd century, during the highest power of Rome, a jar of Sturgeon Roe cost the same amount as 100 sheep. If you fast forward a couple thousand years to the turn of the 19th century, it was possible to find caviar in every bar, pub, and restaurant in New York served along side peanuts at half the cost. Of course, like any natural resource, the results of such ample supply are usual seen in the rapid loss of population in the animal from which it is produced.
Overfishing of the sturgeon has led to the sharp uptake once more of the premium on Caviar with the cost not quite approaching that of 100 sheep, but still costing a tidy sum in most countries. America produces nearly 75% of the world’s caviar right now, though it is to be noted that the labeling restrictions in the United States aren’t nearly as strict as in places such as France, where only the Roe of Sturgeon can be labeled as Caviar. Of course, the kind of fish from which the roe is harvested is always marked on the label on US produced caviar.
The fish itself, the sturgeon is nearly extinct because of the overfishing and rampant demand for its roe. As such, the premium for true caviar from the sturgeon is significantly higher than that of Salmon or Lumpfish. Since the dawn of its discovery, the Sturgeon has been a very special fish, hailed for the delicacy hidden inside in its Roe. World leaders for nearly 3000 years have partaken of the incredibly rare treat and shall continue to do so for many more.