These days, caviar is viewed as a luxury item because of its rarity and high price.
You can’t go wrong with a few of these salty little fish eggs and a glass of champagne and some crackers.
Because of their high price, you won’t find them at your typical truck stop or in the menu at your local family restaurant. According to MasterClass, the price of a pound of beluga caviar (also known as “black gold”) is nearly ,500.
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The unfertilized eggs of a sturgeon are what we call “caviar,” and it’s best enjoyed cold and fresh. Even though only a handful of sturgeon are capable of producing high-quality caviar, the United States is one of the few places in the world where cured fish roe can be called caviar, according to the Caviar Star.
According to Top Exporting Countries, 75.2% of global sales of true caviar came from just five countries in 2021: China, Italy, France, Germany, and Poland. A few centuries ago, however, the eastern coast of the United States served as the global caviar capital.
New Jersey’s Caviar Point
Welome to the New Jersey coast, where plentiful and inexpensive sturgeon caviar once swam in the rivers. One German immigrant, Henry Schacht, is credited with laying the groundwork for the East Coast caviar industry in the 19th century, as reported in New Jersey Monthly.
The Delaware River serves as a natural border between Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean. He and his crew of fishermen would catch sturgeon, then cure and sell the roe from their base in Caviar Point, also known as Bayside.
It was reported in Historic Greenwich Township that there were 400 fishermen residing in the small town when it became known as the caviar capital of the world.
There was a heyday for Schacht’s caviar business on the Delaware River until pollution and overfishing killed it off in 1925.
Caviar may seem expensive and refined now, but Eater reports that in early American history, it was commonly fed to livestock and considered too cheap for human consumption. Caviar was one of America’s untapped and underappreciated resources until 1850, when European immigrants like Henry Schacht began eating it as a cheap source of protein.