Did you know there is a National Caviar Day? Neither did we. (Then again, in the nether-sphere of the internet there seems to be a national day for just about everything.)

 

So what about caviar– what is it exactly? Where does it come from? And how come Russian caviar is so expensive?  In honor of National Caviar Day we bring you the roe-down on these fancy fish eggs.

 

What is Caviar?

 

Caviar is fish roe or eggs that have been cured in salted brine. Authentic caviar refers to the roe from wild sturgeon, a fish that is native to the fresh waters of Caspian and Black Sea. The three main types of sturgeon that produce caviar are beluga, sevruga and osetra. 

 

While you can find a number of fish egg products labeled caviar, including salmon roe (ikura), real caviar comes in the form of tiny pearly black fish eggs from sturgeon. It’s like calling a sparkling wine from Italy, Champagne!

 

black caviar

 

What’s so special about caviar?

 

Before oysters, truffles and Champagne there was caviar. Considered a rare delicacy, caviar was coveted by kings, tzars and every other imaginable aristocracy. From ancient Rome to modern Russia, splurging on caviar was a matter of luxury, status, and good taste. 

 

More than just fantastic flavor, caviar is known to contain vital minerals like zinc and vitamins A, C and E -famous for their immune-boosting effects.

 

Why is Russian caviar so expensive?

 

Known as ‘black gold’, beluga sourced caviar is the most expensive in the world. Russian fishermen have been harvesting sturgeon caviar in the Caspian Sea for centuries. High demand and even higher profits have resulted in overfishing and poaching of the species, despite a robust 118 year life cycle of the fish. This prompted many governments to restrict trade. In the United States, sales of beluga caviar have been illegal since 2005.

 

Average prices for sevruga caviar can be as high as $5,800 for one kilo (2.2lbs). Osetra caviar is even more expensive, coming in at a cool $12,500 per kilo.

 

If you’re looking to add some caviar royalty your next soirée, consider black caviar “Malosol” Derived from paddle fish, a close cousin of the sturgeon, the caviar is a salty burst of wonderfulness when served on a petit-four toast or with blini.  

 blini with caviar

 

 

 

 

4th of July Collage2

 

 

How do you make a Patriotic Red, White and Blue layered drink?

 

Start with your basic ingredients: Red Cranberry Juice, White Pina Colada SOBE, Blue Gatorade (of Blue Curacao).

 

1) Pour the Cranberry juice first. It has the heaviest sugar content, making it robust enough to stand up to the weigh of the rest.  
2) Add full glass of ice.
3) SLOWLY pour the remaining drinks on top, do not mix.

 

For a Russian twist, use vodka as a clear alternative and add as top ingredient after carefully pouring Cranberry Juice and Blue Curacao. Enjoy responsibly!

 

Summer is officially here! Beaches, sand and fun in the sun. The days are long and the last thing you want to be doing is spending time indoors cooking. Barbecues and grill-outs aside, most of us are looking for quick and easy recipes to keep us cool and satiated. 

 

Below are two of our chilled favorites, Okroshka and Svekolnik (Cold Borscht). Both are great sources of vitamins and can be whipped up in no time with just a little prep work. 

 

Okroshka

 

Ingredients:
- 2 med potatoes cooked
- 3 bunches of green onion
- 4 small radishes
- 2 med persian cucumbers
- 3 eggs (can be just egg whites)
- 1/2 cup chopped bologna or cooked chicken breast
- finely chopped dill (and fresh mint leaves to taste)
- salt and peper
- 6-7 cups Yogurt Drink
- 1 cup fizzy water

 

Boil eggs and potatoes ahead of time and let chill. Chop ingredients into small cubes and combine in a bowl. Pour the yogurt drink and salt and pepper to taste. Add fizzy water and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice for more zing. 

 

Enjoy chilled! Can be made #vegetarian by skipping the bologna and eggs.

 

Okroshka FB Post

 

 

Svekolnik 

 

Ingredients 
- 5 medium sized beets 
- 3 medium potatoes 
- 4 hard boiled eggs chopped
- 2 medium cucumbers chopped
- 6 small radishes chopped
- 1 cup minced scallions or green onion
- 1 lemon halved
- 1/2 cup minced dill
- 10-12 cups water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sour cream as garnish

 

Clean and cut beets and potatoes into small cubes. Add water, a squeeze of lemon and salt and bring everything to boil. Let the beet stock simmer for a few minutes before taking off the heat. 

 

The mixture should be a rich red or deep pink color. Chill the liquid in the refrigerator – preferably overnight. 

 

Finely chop hard boiled eggs, radishes and cucumbers and place in individual plates. Mince the green onions (or scallions) and dill. Add the chilled beet stock to the ingredients. 

Garnish and enjoy with a dollop of sour cream!

 

Cold Borsht2

 

 

Bet you didn’t know that Memorial Day was actually borne out of the American Civil War and was initially known as Decoration Day.

 

 

 

Memorial Day

 

Back in 1868, on the first Decoration Day, 5,000 participants gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to decorate the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers. Nearly 100 years later, in 1967, the US Congress declared the last Monday of May a Federal Holiday to honor all men and women who died while serving the United States.

 

Today, Memorial Day – much like Victory Day in Russian – unofficially marks the beginning of summer. While the “Old Glory” flies at half staff, patriotic Americans gather together to officially kick off the BBQ season.

 

Shashlik

 

Grilling is wildly popular in many places around the world. The familiar aroma of marinated meat and smoking charcoal practically induces a Pavlovian reaction in many of us – resurrecting memories of happiness, delicious food and carefree days of summer.

 

So how does American BBQ compare to the Russian shashlik?

 

American BBQ

 

 

Of the main differences between Eastern and Western grilling is the type and size of the meat pieces. Classic American BBQ typically includes hamburgers and some sort of sausage or hot dog.

 

 

Regional influences have introduced slowly cooked pulled pork and rib meats, catapulting a handfull of American cities to fame and notoriety as BBQ ‘capitals’ of the U.S. Kansas City, for example, is home to over 100 barbecue restaurants and hosts an annual barbecue competition called the American Royal.

 

 

AR_Logo

 

In Easter Caucasus regions, particularly Georgia, shashlik is made from small chunks of red meat that are threaded onto long metal skewers called shampuri (Шампуры). A good marinade is the key to tender, juicy meat and is what gives barbecue its distinctly Russian flavor and flare.

 

 
Using vinegar, lemon juice, pomegranate juice or other acidic liquids helps tenderize the meat pieces and breaks down protein chains to ease digestion. Oils reduce any moisture loss during the cooking process and are therefore also an essential ingredient in marinades.
 
 
 
 
Fresh veggies like vine-ripened tomatoes, crispy cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, green onions and radishes typically accompany Russian shashlik. Other popular side dishes include prepared veggie appetizers like Georgian-style eggplant spread and Ajika a flavorful dip made with red or green peppers, garlic and spicy seasonings.
 
 
Russian BBQ Sauces
If you’re looking for a ready-made, home-style marinade, we recommend 100% Natural Pomegranate Sauce, or the classic Georgian KINTO Tkemali “Shashlik” Sauce in medium spicy, excellent for meat and chicken.
 
 
 

Let RussianFoodDirect.com spice up your American BBQ with a bit of Easter European flavor. Check out our online grocery isle for mouthwatering sauces, seasonings and veggie appetizer spreads.

 

Use coupon code MAY30 to save 30% on Herbal Remedies and Teas.

 

See our newest online feature that lets you choose your FREE gift before checking out – click here for details.

Victory Day is celebrated on May 9th in Russia and many other former Soviet Republics. The country’s second most popular holiday – after New Year’s Day – marks Germany’s surrender to the Soviet Union in 1945, and becoming the canonical end of World War II, also known as the Great Patriotic War.

 

 

 

For nearly 70 years, Russia has commemorated millions of people who perished and honor the surviving Veterans. Parades are organized throughout the county as tribute to the bravery and heroism of the people who saved their country from Nazi invasion.

 

Veterans proudly wear medals of honor on their chests as they share their stories of war and victory with younger generations. They carry fresh flowers, particularly red carnations and tulips and lay them down as wreaths at memorial sites to demonstrate respect for their fallen fellows.

 

 

Victory Day - May 9th

 

 

 

 

Families gather around festive tables to celebrate survivors and recall the struggles of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Around the world, there are in fact, less than one million WW II Veteran alive today, out of a total 16 million that survived the war. And so, as years pass and the Veterans get older, the responsibility of honoring and remembering the past becomes ever so greater.

 

 

 VictoryDayMay9

 

 

 

 

 

Today and through next week, RussianFoodDirect.com is honoring all Veterans with an extra 15% OFF coupon on medicinal creams and ointments. And, as a tip of the hat to the Soviet days gone by, we’re extending the savings to dry salamicaramel candy, and  candy gift boxes.

 

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