Named for things that please me (“me gusta” in Spanish) and rhymes with balabusta (Yiddish for “good homemaker”).

A Fish That Didn’t Evolve + An Industry That Did = Modern Caviar

Sturgeon, sometimes referred to as the dinosaurs of the sea, have been around from time immemorial, and even look prehistoric.



These monsters used to be the source of the finest caviar from Russia and the Caspian Sea, real caviar not salmon roe or any other delicious fish eggs nice in their own right but not caviar to connoisseurs around the world. Then, due to over fishing, pollution, truth in labeling issues, you name it, the supply went away, other than some dubious black market product.

In the late 20th century, some enterprising entrepreneurs, notably in Uruguay and California (the best known being marine biologist Serge Doroshov, a Soviet defector who is a professor at UC Davis) took to the task of importing live sturgeon to initiate breeding programs.

caviar osetra spoon

Osetra Caviar

The rest is delicious history.

It took many years to establish the populations, but sturgeons are now farmed sustainably, guaranteeing us a long term, albeit expensive, source of this treat. The males are harvested after mating, and the females are harvested when their roe is ready, then both the roe and the flesh are sold. The fisheries are managed carefully to ensure the health of these rare and expensive fish, and their staying viable as a species over time.

Sterling Caviar in Sacramento, Ca ( and Black River Caviar in Rio Negro, Uruguay ( are two of the world’s leading producers of sustainable caviar.

The former is the source of most caviar sold by Petrossian  ( ).

Caviar in the Surf

Caviar in the Surf

The later is the exclusive supplier to Seabourn, a line of small cruise ships known for its “Caviar in the Surf” beach barbecues.(

There are several types of sturgeon caviar marketed, Osetra being the most common nowadays, but the farmers are working to bring back the Beluga.  When you see the word Mallosol on a caviar container, it means that the quality is high enough to require only a small amount of salt in its preservation.

How much does it cost?  If you have to ask, you cannot afford it, but, if you must, check out the websites and let MyMEGusta know when your shipment arrives!

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2 thoughts on “A Fish That Didn’t Evolve + An Industry That Did = Modern Caviar

  1. on said:

    Very good & informative article on a favorite delicacy!!!……….j

  2. Pingback: A Fish That Didn’t Evolve + An Industry That Did = Modern Caviar

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