Beluga caviar, and caviar from stellate sturgeon, starlet, and Caspian sturgeon is highly valued all over the world; it is rich in vitamins and minerals and is exceptionally tasty. Beluga caviar is the most expensive and delicious.
It is not necessary to travel to Astrakhan to buy caviar. It is available in most big shops and supermarkets in the country. But it is important to know that the best caviar is produced in Astrakhan. Fish farms also operate in the Yaroslavl Oblast. The Rzhev fish production complex is rapidly growing as well.
While buying caviar, you should remember the following:
• The product’s ingredients include caviar itself, salt, one or two preservatives at most (it is better if there is none, but it reduces the shelf life), such as sorbic acid (part of the salt mixture "LIV-1"). There is no place for anything else.
• The GOST (State Quality Standard) must be specified on the jar or can (product complies with interstate and international quality standards).
• Fresh-grain caviar is better than pressed.
The best caviar is extracted by the slaughter technique, while caviar obtained by milking is inferior in taste and nutritional value.
• Commercial fishing of sturgeon in Russia and the Caspian states is prohibited; all caviar is produced in fish farms. Never buy caviar from unauthorized sellers. This is not only about possible health issues. If you buy from unauthorized sellers, you are supporting poaching.
• You can buy caviar in bulk (in large supermarkets or stores that sell seafood), but if you're going to take it back with you, then you should go for sealed jars.
• There is no such thing as a cheap black caviar,
• The jar must be made from glass, and must have a non-plastic lid. The caviar should not roll over, nor slop around inside the jar, and there should be no oily stains.
• The caviar should be packed in July or August. If October or November is specified, the caviar is most likely to have been frozen. The packaging date should be embossed on the lid from the inside, not printed over it;
• Pasteurized caviar in a glass jar can be stored for up to two years, and pressed caviar only 8-9 months;
• Caviar with lighter grains is more valuable.
Black caviar is a rather expensive product, but it is worth the money spent.
You may export up to 5 kilograms of salmon (red) caviar and 250 grams of sturgeon fish caviar in their original packaging (without declaring) from the Russian Federation for personal consumption. To avoid having it taken don’t carry the caviar in your carry-on luggage, and for safety you should pack it in a thermal bag before placing it in your checked baggage.
If you export sturgeon caviar in excess of 250 grams you will need a license from the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia.
Important note: You may import up to 125 grams of sturgeon fish caviar per person to the US and the EU countries!