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Monday - August 19,2019
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Souvenirs

What is Caviar?

Caviar is the unfertilized eggs (roe) of the female fish of Acipenseridae family. People serve it raw or cooked, usually as breakfast.Persian caviar

Caviar-bearing fish or sturgeons are from Acipenseridae family. The evolution of this unique marine species dates back to several million years ago. In fact, the biological history of sturgeons originates in Triassic. That is why they are known as living fossils of the world. Sturgeons have lived this far with the help of phylogenetic evolution.

Experts divide these fishes into 27 species and subspecies in the world. Six species are found in the Caspian Sea. Sturgeons are valuable not for their meat, but for their roe. Therefore, it is called under the nickname of “the black pearl”. While caviar has some varieties such as gold, red, and black, the black caviar is more valuable than other types.

Persian caviar
Persian caviar

Everything about Persian caviar

Caviar is a Persian word (originally Khāg-Āvar) meaning “the egg-bearing”. The Caspian Sea in the northern part of Iran is the largest source of caviar in the world. Beluga (Huso huso), Acipenser Gueldenstaedtii, Acipenser Persicus, Acipenser Nudiventris, and Acipenser Stellatus are the major caviar-bearing fishes of the Caspian Sea.

Besides fishing in the Caspian Sea, Iran has begun to fish farming of the caviar-bearing fishes over the past decade. Currently, there are more than 90 caviar-bearing fish farms across the country. 50 percent of them are in the northern provinces of Iran such as Mazandaran, Gilan, and Gulistan. And the rest are in other provinces of Iran.

As this Iranian product is one of the most valuable foods in the world, we mostly export it. Iranians mostly export Persian caviar to the US, European and Arab countries. Iran also exports the majority of its beluga caviar (we know it in Iran as Imperial Caviar), which is more popular than other types, to these countries.

Yet, Europe, the US, and Canada consume 85 percent of the caviar in the world. However, it’s just affluent families in Iran that eat this delicious food.

Serving caviar in Iranian restaurants

Caviar is not served in Tehran that much. But there is a well-known fast-food restaurant in Lavasan Town which serves the Caviar Burger. But customers have to register their order 24 hours ahead and pay 50 percent of its price in advance. In fact, there are a handful of restaurants in Iran that use this expensive and nutritious material in their meals.

Persian caviar
Persian caviar

Persian caviar as a souvenir

The high profit of the cultivation, sale, and export of Iranian caviar has created the challenge of smuggling caviar. In addition, the economic benefit of caviar led to the overfishing of sturgeons that damages the natural resources of Iran. Therefore, the Iranian government has recently made arrangements to control the smuggling of caviar. Consequently, the Iranian customs laws are somehow strict about the taking of caviar. In fact, every passenger has the permission to take only 200 grams of caviar out of the country.

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