While caviar, as we know it today, is the epitome of a foodie’s delight, delving into its rich history offers a unique perspective of how this delicacy came to be so coveted. Check out this infographic for an illustrated history of caviar’ journey from 1240 through to today!

History & Mystery

To indulge in a “cake of power” sounds quite enthralling. Though there is some debate as to who was the first to originate caviar, the similarities between the Persian word “chav-jar” and the Turkish word “khavyar” are incredibly similar and both convey the “piece of power.

Caviar made its way to Russia where it was first experienced in 1240 by Genghis Khan’s grandson (Batu Khan). He sampled it with hot apple preserves, which offers quite a sweet and savory contrast to the palette. From here, caviar made its way through Europe and the first written record of it is noted in 1591. Aristotle wrote of sturgeon eggs being brought to banquets and parties – somewhat like an early day society columnist describes a gala today.

Caviar in North America

Contrary to its relative exclusivity, caviar’s history in the United States actually began in a much more widespread fashion. Back in the early 1800s, caviar was freely served in bars thanks to its ability to make patrons thirsty. While it likely was not always served with our recommended pairings of champagne or vodka, caviar surely found its ways into hearts and bellies. By the 20th century, Canada and the US became primary suppliers of caviar. In fact - did you know that at the height of the Russian caviar craze in the mid-90s, American caviar was often shipped to Europe and re-packaged in order to be considered “foreign.”

While its history may begin as somewhat of a “poor man’s food” (the equivalent of bar peanuts), the evolution of caviar into a true delicacy has changed when and how we consume it. From pairing caviar with modern foods and complementary beverages to optimizing its taste with our mother of pearl tasting spoons, we take caviar seriously! Chat with our Caviar Concierge to find your match made in heaven.