Caviar brings to mind elaborate dishes, cut crystal, and high ceremony. Historically caviar’s delicate nature limited it to the fishing villages that made it, and those with a generous household staff and ice house.
The truth, however, is that caviar’s needs are simple. It must be kept absolutely cold—such as in a refrigerator drawer, with an ice pack to bring the temperature just below freezing—until serving. Caviar will remain fresh rather than freezing at these temperatures thanks to its curing process. It will keep stored in this manner for up to three weeks in a home refrigerator. Like wine, opening caviar exposes it to changes and it must be consumed fully soon after.*
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Finally, caviar must not be contacted by metal during serving, as this can add bitter or metallic notes. This simple need has birthed an entire genre of servingware specifically for caviar. Many of these wares are elegant works of art and truly elevate a formal occasion.
However, caviar’s simple roots and mesmerizing look also welcome rustic, intimate settings and avante-garde presentations. Depending on the occasion, caviar shines atop savory dishes and cocktails, or in chilled vessels of porcelain, glass, shell, and nonreactive stone like slate and granite. Spoons in natural materials like mother of pearl, horn, bone, and antler are a lovely complement that honors caviar’s simple, elemental nature.