When you are invited to a caviar tasting, it is probably a good idea to have some knowledge of the delicacy.
We were recently invited to a tasting by the good people at the French Gourmand in North Palm Beach.
To say we have limited knowledge of fish eggs on toast is giving us way more credit than we deserve.
Yes, we know what it is.
Yes, we have had it before.
Yes, the number of times could be counted on one hand.
Still, last Friday, palates all ready for sampling, we arrived at the lovely boutique shop at Crystal Tree Shopping Plaza.
Let me tell you, we entered mostly ignorant of the vast world that is caviar, but confident in the knowledge that we would leave there with one of our favorite French Champagnes in tow.
The crowd bustling around the shop was lively, and as usual (the shop frequently holds tastings of food and drink) there was plenty of wine and champagne to be sampled. That just never gets old.
But, we were there for the caviar, so after a few hugs with our favorite guy, the manager, Laurent, and a few nibbles of delicious items at sampling tables, it was time.
So, there I went and stepped right up to the caviar tasting display.
I knew the nice gentleman waiting to serve had my number. He knew I knew nothing about the tiny bins before me.
But, he politely asked the dreaded question..."Which kind would you like?"
My silence and blank face revealed everything in a split-second, so his accented voice went on, "I'll give you Russian. You look like you would enjoy it and it is my personal favorite."
He was right.
Although I sampled the Russian variety, I have learned that approximately 80% of caviar sold in the United States comes from Northern California where they have a no-kill method of extraction which is also used in Germany.
My sample of black caviar was served on toast with a bit of Creme Fraiche (which I love), and mild salmon. It was delicious...and quite expensive.
As for my partner in tasting? You have to check with him; we are independent spirits when it comes to food and drink.
The moral to my story?
I am too much of budgetary-peasant to afford Russian Caviar, and if you can not get the best, why get anything?
On the other hand, if you get invited to a caviar tasting. go. If you live in the Palm Beaches, go see the people at the French Gourmand -- they will tell you everything you need to know.
If you don't, have a tasting at home for your friends just because it is something different to do.
If Russian or Northern California Caviar just does not set your palate on fire...have a French Champagne tasting at home.
It goes with everything and looks fabulous in the perfect flute! -- Pam
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
GERRY PRONOUNCED GARY
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"