All About Caviar


Caviar, or sturgeon roe, typically comes from one of three species of sturgeon: beluga, the largest of the sturgeon, osetra, the second largest of the fish, or sevruga.

All wild sturgeon are endangered; therefore, Laurel Pine, Living Luxury is promoting caviar produced through sustainable farming techniques. We have chosen suppliers that are pioneers in the production of sustainable caviar, and produce exceptionally good quality caviar – Tsar Nicoulai and Black River Caviar.

The Story of Black River Caviar’s “Wild Raised” Caviar

Black River Caviar has pioneered an entirely new concept in sustainable caviar. The caviar is harvested from Siberian sturgeon, originally imported as fertilized roe from Russia in 1995, then wild raised in Uruguay. The sturgeon are fed an all-natural, organic feed. Black River Caviar's Russian Caviar Master uses the malossol, or “little salt” method, to enhance the superb flavor of the caviar.

From its inception, Black River Caviar sought out the perfect environment within which they could match the quality of wild caviar production.

Black River Caviar has designed all facilities on their farm in such a way that they are harmoniously adapted to the environment and best utilize the pristine natural habitat that is the Rio Negro in Uruguay.

The guiding philosophical principal of Black River Caviar is the recreation of ‘life in the wild’ for the sturgeon: from day one until the moment of caviar harvesting.

Black River Caviar facilities are divided into three areas:
1. The Hatchery
2. Baygorria Lake
3. The Raceways System

The imported Russian sturgeon eggs are housed in the Hatchery: an environment which simulates the bottom of the river where Russian sturgeon naturally spawn.

Then, over the next six to nine months, a natural classification is done – selecting the best young sturgeon to send to the lake. This environment corresponds very closely to that of the Caspian Sea with its slow and natural water streams. Here, in a stress-free environment, our fish are fed special organic feed and allowed to grow in the most healthy and natural way.

At this point all the females are tagged with a special microchip in order to literally follow their maturation process with the necessary detail required.

Once the females start to produce their first roe, they are moved to the Raceways systems, which again is a perfect simulation of the river delta and its requisite rapids.

This unprecedented system moves about 50 million Gallons through the Raceways each day – constantly guaranteeing that the water is 100% fresh and free-flowing. There is no need for any water recycling, or any kind of water treatments or filters.

The volume of water running through the system guarantees a totally unspoiled environment in which the water is naturally oxygenated when flowing through the cascade system.

Due to this design the Black River Caviar team can work with the sturgeon twenty-four hours a day and are able to change the water speed, quantity and depth of each unit in order to simulate the females’ natural journey up the river.

The continuous exercise the Sturgeon get in this environment – constantly swimming against the fresh water streams – allows the fish to grow and mature in a fashion which ensures a quality akin to their wild counterparts.

The entire Black River Caviar operation is based on ensuring quality sturgeon by creating a uniquely planned environment that mimics the natural environment allowing for a completely new classification of caviar: not wild and not farm-raised – uniquely WILD-RAISED.

The Story of Tsar Nicoulai, Sustainable California Caviar

Hand produced at their aquafarm in California's Central Valley, Tsar Nicoulai’s California Estate Osetra rivals imported caviar in quality, taste, and texture. It is one of the freshest caviar on the market, with every order hand-selected and hand-packed. As a result, Tsar Nicoulai is the only caviar company with a James Beard Award.

Tsar Nicoulai Caviar has a long standing relationships with some of the country’s top chefs, including Thomas Keller, Charlie Trotter, Charlie Palmer, Marcus Samuelson, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Roland Passot and Rick Moonen to name a few.

Tsar Nicoulai’s sustainable sturgeon farms do not use any antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides, biocides, bioengineering, ionizing radiation or fertilizers in compliance with the principles of Organic Food Production and Organic Food Processing.

By offering an alternative to the caviar harvested from wild sturgeon, the demand for imported caviars is lessened, thereby ensuring an abundant and consistent supply of caviar from around the world for generations to come.

Even Tsar Nicoulai’s imported caviar is purchased only from sources that have aligned themselves with a pledge towards sustainability.

Product Selections

We are pleased to be offering Tsar Nicoulai California Estate Osetra, Select California Estate Osetra, and Reserve California Estate Osetra, as well as an imported Caspian Sea Osetra.

California Estate Osetra is clean, smooth, and buttery, with a medium sized egg. Select California Estate Osetra, served in the finest restaurants nationwide, is known for its extraordinary smoothness. Hand produced in very limited quantities, Reserve California Estate Osetra, with a large sized egg, has a focused, clean palate with fresh nuances, complemented by its creamy lingering finish.

In addition to individual caviar selections, we also have six packages featuring California Estate Osetras, smoked fish, and infused trout and whitefish roes.

Caviar Shipping, Storage and Serving Suggestions

Please allow up to a 48-hour turnaround time for processing and shipping caviar orders. Overnight shipping is required for all caviar products, and product should be refrigerated upon receipt. Since household refrigerators are usually too warm for caviar products, we suggest the following: place a sealed bag of ice, or a frozen ice pack, on the caviar tin or jar and place it in the coldest part of the refrigerator, usually the back; replenish the ice as it melts. If refrigerator temperature is between 26 – 35 degrees, ice is not necessary.

Stored properly, Tsar Nicoulai caviar in unopened vacuum sealed jars will maintain their freshness for five to six weeks, and unopened tins will be fresh for about two weeks. Black River Caviar will maintain its freshness for several months unopened. Once a jar or tin is opened, we suggest you enjoy the product within two to three days.

It is best to eat caviar using a mother-of-pearl spoon since silver or stainless steel utensils can give the caviar a tinny taste. Horn, bone, gold, glass, or wood spoons may also be used.