Frequently Asked Questions - Information on Caviar and Specialty foods
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Q: What is caviar?
A: The combination of unfertilized sturgeon eggs and salt is the delicacy known as caviar. See more on what is caviar.
Q: What is the difference between fish roe and caviar?
A: All caviar is roe but not all roe is caviar. Roe refers to any and all unfertilized eggs collected from marine animals. To be qualified as caviar, the roe not only has to be processed correctly but also has to come from sturgeons. Caviar is the combination of unfertilized sturgeon eggs and salt. See more on the difference between fish roe and caviar.
Q: What is the difference between black caviar and red caviar?
A: Fish roe that is from a sturgeon is considered black caviar because the eggs are commonly darker in color. Red, orange, and even yellow fish roe from salmon and trout is known as red caviar despite not actually meeting the traditional definition for caviar. See more on the difference between black caviar and red caviar.
Q: What is malossol?
A: Malossol is a Russian word that literally translates to "little salt". When used to describe caviar, it refers to the idyllic salting process used to increase the shelf life of the highly perishable fish roe. Most caviar and roes, regardless of quality, are cured to the model of the malossol process. See more on what is malossol.
Q: What are the other processing methods used to preserve caviar?
A: There are three common ways in which caviar is initially processed to increase its shelf life. The highest quality method is the malossol process. Caviar that would typically be cured as malossol, but is second in quality due to overly ripe, soft or damaged eggs typically becomes pressed caviar. A step down from that is the semi-preserved or “salted” caviar which contains a much higher salt content to increase the product’s shelf stableness. Pasteurized caviar keeps for significantly longer than non-pasteurized caviar but the taste and texture can be negatively affected. See more on caviar preservation methods.
Q: What does caviar taste like?
A: It is not easy to explain, even caviar from the same species of fish can taste different based on a number of factors. The taste of most black caviar is commonly interpreted with similar descriptions as a breath of the sea, a touch of salt, the delicate flavor of fresh fish, sometimes smooth and nutty, full of sweet brine that pops in your mouth and fills your nose, and like good raw oysters but richer. See more on what caviar tastes like.
Q: How does the taste of a caviar substitute compare to real caviar?
A: Caviar substitutes/salted non-sturgeon fish roes usually have a less unique flavor than caviar, often described as more salty and fish flavored than roe from a sturgeon. See more on how the taste of caviar substitutes compare to real caviar.
Q: What is the texture like when eating caviar/fish roe?
A: In most instances, black caviar starts with a delicately firm texture that is transformed into a smooth and creamy, almost butter-like consistency, as it melts in your mouth. The eggs of red caviar are larger than black caviar and usually very firm. Red caviar eggs burst with an audible “pop” between the tongue and roof of your mouth, releasing the lightly flavorful juice which was once protected by the outer shell. See more on the texture of caviar and fish roe.
Q: How long does caviar last?
A: A container of Non-pasteurized malossol caviar when unopened and properly refrigerated will last anywhere from two to four weeks. Once the container is opened it will only last about three days. If that same container of caviar is pasteurized or frozen, it can last a year as long as it remains sealed. See more on how long caviar lasts.
Q: Why is caviar so expensive?
A: The cost of a type of caviar is directly related to its rarity, along with the amount of time and resources required to produce it. See more on why caviar is expensive.
Q: Why is roe cheaper than caviar?
A: Fish roe is cheaper because the non-sturgeon fish harvested for their eggs usually are far more populous, require fewer resources to produce, and face less government regulation than sturgeon. See more on why fish roe is cheaper than caviar.
Q: How is the quality of caviar graded? What factors change the rating?
A: The quality of caviar is graded based on a set of factors in which the scorer must answer a series of questions about the product to determine whether the caviar is Grade 1 or Grade 2. The 9 factors that caviar is graded on are egg size, egg color, egg firmness, egg lucidity, egg uniformity, egg separation, egg fragrance, egg taste, and egg maturity. See more on how caviar is graded and the factors that change the rating.
Q: What’s the difference between classic, royal and imperial caviar?
A: These names are used by caviar producers to further grade their product, mostly based on their standards for the size and color of the caviar beads/grains. The lowest of the three grades is “Classic” and is given to product that meets the average egg color and bead size for caviar from that species. “Royal” is the next step up and will typically be lighter in color or have larger grains than “Classic” caviar. The rarest and most expensive grade for a type of caviar is “Imperial” which is reserved for product with the largest eggs and lightest color. See more on the difference between classic, royal and imperial caviar.
Q: Is caviar nutritious or does it have any health benefits?
A: Yes, eating caviar can have numerous benefits to your health. One serving of caviar is packed full of protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, B44, C, and D. Caviar is also known to contain a variety of essential amino acids such as lysine, arginine, isoleucine, methionine and histidine. See more on the nutrition of caviar.
Q: How long does caviar last when left unopened in the refrigerator?
A: The shelf life of a vacuum sealed container of caviar is commonly between 4 and 6 weeks at a temperature of 26° to 36° F. See more on how long caviar lasts.
Q: How long does the caviar stay good after opening?
A: For the best possible quality, all caviar should be consumed within 10 days of opening. See more on how long caviar stays good after opening.
Q: What's the best way to store caviar before and after it's opened?
A: Both instances would require a refrigerator at a temperature of 26° to 36° F for fresh caviar. After opening the container, the lid should be put back on to limit air exposure during re-storing. See more on what's the best way to store caviar.
Q: Can I freeze my caviar?
A: Yes, you can freeze your caviar to extend the shelf life to about a year. However, the caviar will have less flavor and a softer texture. See more on freezing caviar.
Q: How do I open my jar and/or tin of caviar?
A: Using something like a butter knife, screwdriver or church-key bottle opener is the best and easiest way to open these caviar containers. Apply pressure under the lip of the lid to break the seal and pop open your container. See more on how to open caviar jars and tins.
Q: How do you package your caviar and how long does the packaging keep the product cool?
A: We use bubble wrap to protect the caviar containers from damage and packed in insulated boxes with gel ice to keep the product under temperature for up to 48 hours. See more on the best ways to package caviar.
Q: When will I receive my order?
A: Orders for perishable items received by 3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Thursday, are processed and shipped the same-day unless a later ship date is requested. See more on caviar shipping.
Q: If I get free shipping will it still be sent overnight?
A: If you order enough caviar/perishable products to qualify for free shipping, then it will be sent overnight for next day delivery. See more on caviar shipping.
Q: Do I have to pay multiple shipping costs for different orders shipping to multiple addresses?
A: Yes, every order must have only one delivery address and therefore one shipping charge. There is no way to combine shipments unless they are going to the same address. See more on caviar shipping.
Q: What will it cost to ship my order?
A: Standard overnight shipping is a flat-rate of $35 for delivery on Tuesday through Friday in the continental US. Saturday delivery is $50. Ground shipping is $15. See more on caviar shipping.
Q: Do you ship to Alaska and/or Hawaii?
A: Yes, standard Overnight AK and HI shipping is $50. AK and HI Saturday delivery is $65. AK and HI Ground service is $30. See more on caviar shipping.
Q: Can you ship products internationally?
A: We can ship most products overseas, the only exception being sturgeon and paddlefish caviar since they are protected species and require CITES documentation to export. See more on caviar shipping.
Q: Will my caviar stay fresh if shipped via Ground service?
A: If you are located in North or South Carolina, then yes, using the Ground service will normally get your caviar to you the next day. See more on caviar shipping.
Q: There is a delivery exception on my shipment and it might be delivered late, what do I do?
A: You don't have to do anything. We will contact the shipping company to let you know when it will be delivered, and file any necessary claims for delayed or failed delivery. See more on caviar shipping.
Q: What do I do to return product I don't want and get a refund?
A: Contact us and we will send you a return label if necessary. If product is perishable, re-freeze the gel ice and send it back in the original insulated box. If the product was ordered by customer's mistake then shipping will not be refunded. See more on caviar shipping and returns.
Q: My box arrived damaged and Caviar Star has filed a shipper claim and provided me with a refund, should I throw the broken box and product away?
A: No, not util we can confirm that it isn't needed for evidence of the claim. It is always a good idea to take a picture of any product that arrives damaged. See more on caviar shipping and returns.
Q: How do I specify a shipping/delivery date?
A: Leave us an order comment in the "comment" section of the checkout page with the desired ship or delivery date (might try to get a calendar ship date selector set up, but for now this is all we have). See more on how to help with checkout.
Q: How do I know that my payment went through and my order is being processed?
A: After completing checkout you should receive an email from Caviar Star confirming that your order has been paid for and is being processed. See more on how to help with checkout.
Q: Why does my order status show "manual verification required"?
A: This is most likely because your order had different billing and shipping addresses and was flagged by our fraud protection. There is nothing you need to worry about though; we will manually validate your order and change the status. If we did not completely answer your question or you need more assistance, please visit our contact us page.
Q: I just ordered a gift for a loved one. How do I include a personalized message in their box?
A: Leave us the message in the "comment" section of checkout. We will write you message in a card and put it inside their package free of charge. If we did not completely answer your question or if you need more assistance, please visit our contact us page.
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