When you think of the most lavish delicacies to tickle the human tongue, what comes to mind? Think as far as possible from instant noodles as you can get.
Black truffles? Wagyu beef? Succulent caviar? Ah, caviar. Yes, caviar should definitely be at the top of this dream list.
We’re going to examine the phenomenon of the most extravagant caviar in the world. It’s called Almas caviar (the best of the best), and once you understand what it is, you might have a better understanding of why it’s so precious – and expensive.
What is Almas Caviar?
Almas caviar is a rare treasure hidden inside a very specific type of fish in an extremely localized region. This caviar is not just fish eggs from just any sturgeon found in the sea.
So what is Almas caviar? Almas caviar is obtained from a very specific type of fish called albino beluga sturgeon. Almas caviar can only be obtained from a albino beluga sturgeon that’s between 60 and 100 years old. Almas caviar is also referred to as white caviar.
One of the largest bony fish on the planet, adult beluga sturgeons can reach up to 10 feet long. These creatures are much sought after, and their numbers have greatly decreased in the wild thanks to the overzealous fishing industry.
The albino variety is extremely uncommon because of a rare genetic abnormality that affects their amount of melanin. Only one in 6000 of the species has the condition. The lack of pigmentation causes this particular fish to be white.
The massive fish is not only light in color; the roe itself has a creamy, yellow tone, giving it an appearance of tiny, dazzling pearls. In fact, its name originates from another precious stone: the word Almas means diamond in Russian.
Where does Almas Caviar Come From?
Almas caviar comes from wild albino beluga sturgeon that is only found off the coast of Iran in the south Caspian Sea. The reason this fish lives only in these waters is that the area is clean and free of pollutants and toxins.
The local industry there has worked hard at preserving this rapidly shrinking resource.
As beluga sturgeon numbers diminished all over the world, these creatures found themselves on the endangered species list. They were being harvested too heavily for decades. Efforts to control their numbers have included trade embargoes and repopulation endeavors in countries all over the world, from Uruguay to Israel to Japan.
The import of all beluga caviar was actually banned from the United States in 2005. Thanks to efforts to protect wild beluga sturgeon and the introduction of Sturgeon Aquafarms in the U.S., the delicacy is finally available again in America. However, Almas, the elusive albino variety may take a while to add to the American market.
What does Almas Caviar Taste Like?
Caviar has been held in high esteem for thousands of years. It was thought to give fortitude and healing to those who consumed it. The wealthy and powerful raved about it. It seems the ancients knew a good thing when they tasted it. Why is this treat so worthy? What does Almas caviar taste like?
In addition to its nutritional merit, this culinary treat is indeed a gift for the senses.
So what does Almas caviar taste like? Gastronomical experts often use the word ‘creamy’ to describe Almas caviar. Almas caviar has a buttery, nutty flavour and the older the sturgeon, the softer and springier the texture of the pearls.
Experts suggest keeping caviar as cold as possible in storage. Since it freezes at 28 degrees Fahrenheit, there’s no danger of damaging the roe if they are kept in the back of your fridge. When serving, don’t let it reach room temperature; let it stay nice and cold. In fact, some people enjoy it in a container that’s over a bed of crushed ice.
You’d be amazed by the elegantly sculpted caviar bowls there are out there. They are more like works of art rather than something you’d keep in your china cabinet and perfectly set the mood before digging in. However, using a glass or ceramic bowl for Almas caviar will work just fine.
To fully take advantage of the pure taste, it’s best to eat Almas caviar alone. It really doesn’t need to be paired with anything and you don’t want to hide its natural flavor. Simply eat it directly with a spoon. Avoid using a metal spoon though, as this will contaminate the taste of the caviar. Pearl, bone, wood, ceramic…even plastic is a better choice of caviar utensil.
If you really want to, you can spread some on a cracker, blini or piece of toast, pair with hard-boiled eggs, sour cream and herbs. And of course, you can’t go wrong with sipping Champagne while you indulge!
How Much is Almas Caviar?
Let’s talk about money. We know that Almas caviar is the most expensive type of caviar you can find. It’s one of the most expensive menu items out there. So, how much are we actually talking about?
Almas caviar costs approximately $35,000 per kilogram or $18,000 per pound.
This is the going rate, which is what top gourmet chefs – and the upper crust of society – are willing to pay.
Why is Almas Caviar so Expensive?
If you are shocked by this outlandish price, you might be wondering why Almas caviar is so expensive.
Almas caviar is expensive because mature albino beluga sturgeon are very rare. Not only is the coloring of these animals extremely uncommon, their numbers are dwindling because of environmental factors, poaching and overfishing. All this makes harvesting Almas caviar very burdensome and limited.
Caviar comes in a variety of colors. You’ll find black, brown, olive and orange shades. But when you see the creamy-white variety, you know you’ve got something precious and scarce. For some, it’s a luxury worth paying for because they are aware of the effort and specific conditions that went into making it available to consumers.
Where to Buy Almas Caviar
As mentioned previously, a very small supply of this precious product exists. In the whole world, there’s approximately only 10 kilograms available each year. And guess what? It traditionally comes in small tins made of gold. A nice touch.
Where can you purchase this scare opulence?
Due to the ban on imported beluga sturgeon roe, it’s impossible to buy Almas caviar in the United States.
Don’t expect to add Almas to your Amazon shopping cart. You won’t spot it in the international foods section of your local grocery store. Even fancy markets that carry caviar are not likely to have Almas nestled safely in the back of the building.
If you live outside the United States, Almas caviar can be purchased from specialty importers that either focus on caviar alone or offer a variety of fine, gourmet foods. They will offer you quality goods and the assurance that you are making a legal purchase. You’ll most likely need to order off the internet, but remember to leave time for shipping.
Unfortunately international delivery might be affected by pandemic lockdowns, so check their websites for availability.
If you’re seeking an opportunity to sample Almas, one great option is Caspian Monarque Iranian Caviar. As the name states, they specialize in caviar from the very home of the albino beluga sturgeon. You can order Almas caviar directly from their website.
Caviar House and Prunier is a world-renowned company that specializes in getting quality caviar and smoked salmon into the discriminating hands of its customers. It offers online shopping in countries around the globe. Whether you are preparing a menu for a stellar social event or you’re in need of the perfect, show-stopping gift for a special person, you’ll find many great products here. They also have physical stores and restaurants in several cities, where their fine goods and luxury seafood dishes are available to shoppers and diners.
As mentioned earlier, a beluga sturgeon farm has recently opened up in the U.S.A. Sturgeon Aquafarms in Florida is doing for elite Iranian caviar what Snake River Farms in Idaho has done for specialty Japanese beef. Our American friends can now enjoy the taste of genuine beluga caviar processed locally and sold though Marky’s.
U.S. residents may not have access to the rare and wonderful Almas beluga variety, but now that the ban is over, regular beluga will have to suffice. Another option for from Marky’s is the Almas osetra, another breed of sturgeon that isn’t beluga, but has a medium-toned, golden roe as opposed to the typical brown or black. If you’re a caviar lover, you’ll probably take it without complaint.