How and where to buy caviar is a common question that is getting both more and less difficult to answer these days. You might be expanding your food palette and trying caviar for the first time, or maybe you're a veteran caviar connoisseur who is looking to get their weekly fix. No matter how much experience you have with buying salted sturgeon eggs and other roes, these age-old questions still arise: where should I go to buy my caviar? How should I buy caviar?
Where to Buy Caviar
Just like most products, there is an array of ways somebody could purchase caviar. Caviar is commonly bought online from retail sites like ours (caviarstar.com) or third party distributors like Amazon, and even Walmart, or eBay. Those who would rather pick out their roe in person can get it from urban caviar retail storefronts, like Bristol Farms in LA, The Caviar Company in Northern Cali, or Petrossian in NYC. Many caviar lovers also get their caviar from their favorite restaurants, gourmet shops, specialty grocery stores, and some supermarkets. A simple online search of “where to buy caviar near me” usually brings up a few local shops you can go to purchase caviar, but it obviously depends on where you’re located. Let’s take a closer look at each of these establishments to determine where you should buy caviar.
Buy Caviar Online
The online caviar market has grown dramatically over the past 20 years with online shops popping up everywhere! Be aware that not all of these online shops know how to handle or ship caviar products appropriately. Over the past decade, caviar farming has grown and general demand has increased, resulting in the creation of various new caviar brands by entrepreneurs and caviar lovers. Although some brands are doing great things, some others are just looking to make a quick, high profit. Many claim to have their “own farms” and some companies mislabel species with ambiguous terms to profit more. The wrong shop can cause your online experience to be a negative one. That’s why we always suggest you purchase your caviar from a reputable, transparent source. Look for clear and generous return policies, you don’t want to buy caviar from someone who won’t treat you well if something goes wrong in the shipping process! Also, look for experience. I can’t tell you how many brands I’ve seen start out with high hopes and fall apart from lack of experience, after all, caviar is highly perishable, delicate, expensive and sales are now more competitive than ever.
The following companies have earned a reputation for selling quality caviar products:
Located in Ocean Isle Beach, NC, Caviar Star is the main brand for U.S. based importer/exporter of the world’s top caviar, Great Atlantic Trading Inc. For over 3 decades, we have provided a wide array of customers the quality caviar they need for high-end kitchens and special events. We are known for supplying many of America’s caviar wholesalers and distributors while also offering online caviar shoppers the same high-quality caviar at very fair prices. We are family owned and operated by a mother, father, son, and daughter :)
The Caviar Company
The Caviar Company is relatively new, but quickly becoming one of the staple brands of high-end caviar in the Northern Californian market and now around the country thanks to their online options. They also have adorable retail stores in San Francisco and Tiburon if you’re nearby and want to avoid shopping online.They’re woman-owned and known for their fun events and caviar trike they drive around San Francisco!
Tired of the ever-changing market and researching to try to find the best quality caviar? Afterall, caviar is expensive and there are a ton of species and grades, with resulting caviar eggs ever-changing due to environmental factors and genetic diversity of each species. New brand CRU Caviar takes the headache out of the search for the best and delivers it straight to your doorstep. While many companies are limited to a few sources, CRU brand has the ability to choose the best of the type of caviar you’re looking for from sources all over the world. You can specify if you want a specific origin at checkout, otherwise they will go through all stocks from all producers available and choose the absolute best quality. The prices are still fair considering the specialized selection process, ease-of-purchase, quality, and packaging.
Amazon +Large on-line marketplaces
Yes, you read that right.. Just like practically everything else nowadays, you can buy caviar on Amazon! Most caviar companies that have moved over to e-commerce are now selling on all channels to make their products more easily available and easier to receive at the speeds most people expect nowadays with Prime memberships. Make sure to check out the Amazon store selling the caviar is a “brand store” with detailed product info, species, farm/fishery origin, pack size, nutrition facts, etc. Also, check out the reviews to keep an eye out for bad service, or reviews that seem forced or fake.
Buy Caviar In-Person at Retail Stores
As we mentioned earlier, many of the popular online shops based in more urban areas offer retail stores, such as Petrossian and Russ & Daughters. There are many other retail shops where you can buy delicious caviar, some year-round, some seasonally. The easiest way to find some of these gems is by searching online for “where to buy caviar near me.” This search should give you some small local shops you could buy caviar from, but here are some other retailers that may be near you where you can purchase caviar.
If you’ve heard of Bristol Farms you probably have spent some time in Southern California. They have a reputation for healthy, gourmet, environmentally-conscious grocery options. They have a nice variety of sustainable caviar from around the world and if you’re near one of their many California locations, you can pop in the store quickly and get what you need.
JV Foods is a wholesale food store in Kenner, Louisiana, located right next door to the Louis Armstrong International Airport. In addition to fresh caviar, they carry a wide variety of meats, seafood, dry goods and very special greens/vegetables. This restaurant driven food distributor is well known for servicing the New Orleans and Gulf Coast communities with locally grown and harvested food products. They are one of the few wholesalers in the southeast that will actually sell to retail customers at wholesale prices for curbside pickup or local delivery. If you ever find yourself in NOLA and need to stock up on some quality grocery items, JV Foods is the place to shop.
Petrossian, headquartered in Angers, France, is one of the oldest caviar companies in the world. They established themselves as the go-to caviar provider for much of the first half of the 20th century with their close business ties to the Soviet Union. Petrossian also has shops in places like NYC, Los Angeles, Paris, Brussels, and Dubai, but you can order some of their fine products online as well. The brand is known for French products and high quality, but also can be high in price due to reputation/brand.
Russ & Daughters
Russ & Daughters, located in New York City, NY, is a family-operated store that started as a pushcart operation back in 1907. They soon built their way up to a brick and mortar store to become one of the top Jewish food stores in NYC. Recently, they’ve grown past their physical shop and started offering their products online. Not many businesses can say they started as a pushcart operation and are now selling products online!
Trader Joes / Whole Foods / Wegman’s
If you have a local Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or Wegman’s, then you might be in luck! These specialized grocery chains often carry caviar, especially during the peak seasons like winter holidays. This of course depends on the store, so make sure you check before you just stop in and try to buy caviar. Caviar at supermarket or grocery chains is also almost always pasteurized for extension of shelf-life. This may affect the texture and flavor depending on the type, so just keep that in mind.
*Be aware that most caviar you buy in-person at a retail store is going to be pasteurized for a longer shelf-life. Instead of a few weeks, it can stay fresh for a couple months, when kept at optimum temperatures. Pasteurization kills all bacteria inside your sealed container with heat but can also change the consistency, making for a firmer ‘pop’ and different mouth-feel. Just be aware of this difference when buying in person.
Buy Caviar Direct From Farms And Fisheries
Many consumers ask “how to buy caviar from the source?” Almost all of the caviar eaten by end-consumers has been handled, processed, graded, and/or repacked by a caviar retailer, wholesaler, or importer. The businesses that sell caviar to retail customers are often sourcing their products from farms and fisheries, so why can't consumers go straight to the source and do the same? When we compare a farm, or fishery, to a company that sells caviar to retail customers, we can analyze the various strengths and weaknesses of these businesses. Thus, we start to see why it is so difficult for most farmers and fishermen to cater to the common eCommerce caviar eater.
Most buyers want to get the best deal they can, and buying from a company at the beginning of the "value chain" is one way to get a better price. Offering lower prices than retail sellers seems like a good way to attract retail customers, but producers of caviar products rarely sell to the public. Why, you ask?
It can be very difficult for end-consumers to buy their caviar directly from the source. It’s mainly because that source requires a minimum order quantity above what a normal retail buyer would need. Caviar farms and fisheries don't want to spend all the time and money to grade and package the smaller containers of caviar that end-users buy and eat within a week’s time. They want to move a lot of product quickly to cover overhead costs, which is why many farms sell caviar in bulk size 500 g, 1 kilo, or 1.75 KG original tins (OT) to experienced re-sellers.
Some end-consumers might be able to afford buying kilos of fresh caviar, but consuming that much product within its shelf life is no easy task. Even when the container is properly stored, whatever a customer is not able to consume within a couple of weeks will have to be frozen after being exposed to air. Since the product will lose flavor and texture after subsequent freezes and thaws, the average caviar eater buying from a producer would only be able to enjoy the first few ounces of their original caviar tins at its highest quality and freshness.
If you really know your source and want a lot of their product at one time, then buying directly from a producer might be the right move. While some farms might try to sell to retail customers, the number of end-users actually buying from farms and fisheries for personal use is pretty low.One farm that does sell direct to consumers is Sterling Caviar Farms out in Northern California. They sustainably farm American White Sturgeon, historically only for sale to re-packers but now they have added on smaller container sizes for retail sales.
You can also purchase their caviar from other US resellers like Caviar Star, who specialize in consistency of grading, quality control, consumer packaging and services like optional pasteurization, private labeling and more.
Why Buying Caviar From Retailers Is Most Common
Basically, most people in the world have to buy caviar from retail sellers. These importers, re-packers, wholesalers, and retailers all add value to the product and make it more accessible to the end-user.
Companies that cater to retail caviar buyers usually have first dibs on the freshest roe from these farms and fisheries. These retailers and farms often have prior agreements or partnerships in place to ensure a consistent supply they can re-pack from the original tin. These relationships are vital in guaranteeing consistent product quality for the end consumer.
In addition to offering more container size options, the overall quality of caviar coming from a retailer or wholesaler tends to be higher than farms and fisheries due to an extra level of scrutiny in inspecting and testing the eggs. Most farms and fisheries don't like to hold much caviar inventory and want to sell all the products they produce as fast as possible. Although producers are supposed to inspect the eggs and conduct smell/taste tests to ensure the caviar is graded properly, maintaining a standard for quality when pushing kilos of product from many different fish is not always possible.
Fisheries are commonly run by fishermen, and farms are often owned and operated by farmers and marine biologists. While some producers do sell their product directly to end-users, it’s more rare for them to hire salespeople or have the packaging, marketing, shipping, and logistical capabilities of other caviar and fine food companies. Since retail-facing caviar businesses work with multiple farms and fisheries to source their product, one single producer will not have the same level of product diversity as an importer and re-seller would have.
Order Caviar At Restaurants
Lastly, you can order caviar while dining at many high-end restaurants around the country. More and more restaurants serve some version of caviar nowadays, some do caviar service and others incorporate it into specific dishes. Here you can find some of the best caviar restaurants
Since it depends on where you are, a quick search for “Caviar restaurants near me” should come back with a decent result. Menus are always changing and sometimes restaurants add or remove caviar from their menu depending on season, demand, and availability. You’re probably going to pay a hefty price for the same caviar you can get on our site, but you’re also paying for the preparation and experience by some really talented chefs.
Where To Buy Caviar Near You
As you can see, there are many places, online or in person, where you can buy caviar. Depending on your preference, you may want to purchase your caviar in person at your local retail shop, in a restaurant for the experience, or you may prefer to shop around and order online from the comfort of your own home. No matter your preference, we are confident you can receive quality caviar as long as you are getting it from a trustworthy and reputable source. Obviously, it will depend on the store and we’ve only heard of a poor experience in regards to caviar at big box stores. That’s why we encourage you to buy from retailers who specialize in caviar like Caviar Star.