Cool Caviar

Caviar is the processed, salted roe of certain fish, notably the sturgeon. Purists believe that true caviar comes from the sturgeon alone. The Caspian Sea is considered the source of the finest true caviar. It is surrounded by 4 Muslim states: Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, as well as Russian-ruled Muslim areas of the Caucasus. These countries produce 90% of world caviar, with Iran accounting for 60%.

The word caviar entered English via Turkish havyar; which derived it from Persian khaviyar. Caviar is one of the greatest delicacies on earth, enjoyed by presidents, kings, sheiks, shahs and emperors. The Persians were the first to eat it and it was then exported to other world leaders like the Romans. A jar of caviar was worth 100 sheep in 200 BC. Most of the true caviar producing regions came under Muslim rule. The highest prices paid today are for Beluga caviar. Imported caviar can sell for upto R32,000kg in USA and caviar trade worldwide is R5 billion. Caviar is served at White House functions.

True caviar is among the most expensive and exclusive of all preserved foods. Beluga caviar is soft, pea-size eggs. It ranges in color from silver-gray to black. Belugas, which produce the best caviar, are the largest freshwater fish in the world. They weigh more than a ton, measure 9m, and live for 150 years.

Caviar: yet another delicacy which Muslims had a hand in producing and exporting to the world. Even today, most true caviar is produced in Muslim countries around the Caspian Sea.