I think this recipe needs to be moved here from my old website now, when we are approaching the Valentine’s Day. Because, let’s face it, there is nothing more luxuriously romantic than high quality black caviar served with Russian-style buckwheat blini and French champagne. Dinner or breakfast — doesn’t matter, it’s a win-win situation!
Black caviar is a cliché. It is what most of the people heard of, but don’t really know about.
Joanna: What is this gelatinous MUCK? Andrew, when I tell you to pack staples, must I specify that you are to pack *good* caviar and not this $1.99 fish bait? Caviar should be round, and hard, and of adequate size, and should burst in your mouth at *precisely* the right moment. — “Overboard” (1987)
Fergie: I’m talking Champagne wishes, caviar dreams. You deserve nothing but all the finer things… — “Glamorous”
Hamlet: I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted, or if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleas’d not the million, ’twas caviare to the general. — “Hamlet” Act 2, scene 2, 431–440
Caviar is expensive and not easily available. This delicacy deserves learning and respect. My favorite quality/price source for the caviar in the U.S. is Marky’s. For the last 7 years, once a year we celebrate our special occasions with caviar tastings. Every year it’s a set of 4-5 caviars. We choose them “by origin” (so far Caspian Russian, American, Canadian, Chinese, and Israeli), or “by species” (sturgeon vs. non-sturgeon), or “by production” (wild vs. farmed). Tasting caviars side by side, I learned my preferences. I also learned that not all the caviars I like were the most expensive.
The best way to serve caviar for tastings is with buckwheat blinis, crème fraîche, and champagne. They create the best background for the taste comparison. It took me a few years to refine my recipe for the blinis. Today, I try other recipes my friends share with me, but always return to mine, as it is the best to my taste. I also make my own crème fraîche (1 cup of LifeWay Kefir + 4 cups 35% cream + 24 hours, room temperature) and I have my own way of paring caviar with drinks.
There are different suggestions how to pair caviar with champagne, sparkling wine, wine, and beer. I prefer French champagne with yeasty, toasty, fresh-baked bread flavor characteristics, and with the tiniest bubbles. I serve it with all types of caviar to emphasize their taste and texture differences.