Caviar Guide by Marky’s
Kaluga Fusion Caviar profile
(Huso Dauricus x Acipenser Schrenkii)
- Hangzhou Lake
- Very firm, large individual beads
- Glossy grey color pearls, with golden highlights and hints of dark amber and olive green
- Mellow, rich, buttery taste
- Crisp finish
- Best served on a blini with crème fraiche or other accompaniments
Drinks: champagne brute or dry white wine
Suggested use: Kaluga Hybridized sturgeon are farmed raised in the Qiandaohu Lake, in an environment close to their natural habitat, in fresh drinking water, free of pollutants. Kaluga Fusion (our trade name) caviar makes a great substitute for the lack of Beluga, due to its related genus and should be suggested to those who are interested in purchasing something similar. This caviar’s distinctive savory taste, with hints of fruit and nut, will add a note of exclusivity and sophistication to any table and therefore will make a wonderful addition to the menu of any high end restaurant or a bar. Kaluga caviar is best served with a blini and a glass of dry white wine or champagne brut. Be aware: Kaluga caviar is incorrectly marketed as River Beluga and a substitute for Caspian Beluga Caviar. Kaluga caviar is, as of September 2014, illegal to import into the United States.
Note: Hybrids of Kaluga Sturgeon and Amur Sturgeon (Acipenser Shrenkii) are incorrectly sold as Osetra caviar or as Royal Caviar. Due to the specifics of this species, caviar obtained from the cross bred generation resembles Osetra in color and appearance of the pearls, but the taste is quite different. Cross breed products are very abundant in Europe and China, so be aware of the source of your caviar and assure the species are indicated on the CITES label.
The Sturgeon family is not a large one, numbering just 27 species, among which only a few are well known. These few are highly valued for their precious and delicious roe, which, when processed, is called caviar. This, and their delectable flesh, has made these species the most valuable commercial fish on the planet. Their preeminence has been greatly to their disadvantage, however, as all these precious sturgeons have been endangered and driven sometimes nearly to extinction by reckless poaching and overfishing.
Among the better known members of the family is the Kaluga, whose scientific name is Huso dauricus. This species is a freshwater fish found in the Amur River basin in Siberia and Northern China. Its elongated body is topped with a triangular head with a short, pointed snout. It is nearly as large as its more famous relative, the Beluga. The largest recorded specimen, caught in the Amur River in the late 19th century, was 5.6 m long and weighed over 1,000 kg, with anecdotal evidence suggesting the fish can grow even larger. Having a similar life cycle to that of Beluga, it is often called the River Beluga. While technically a freshwater fish, like Beluga it lives in seawater for significant portions of its life. This fact influences the notable characteristics of the so-called River Beluga caviar, the second most costly after Beluga.
Kaluga sturgeon caviar is an expensive product due to the fish's long maturation period. The long-lived females of the species begin to spawn only after 16 years of life, and spawn every three to four years thereafter.
Because Kaluga is an endangered species whose export from Russia is strictly limited, Marky’s Gourmet Store does not offer wild-caught products even at near-unattainable prices. In today's international gourmet market, almost all the Kaluga caviar is supplied by aquafarms, which prefer to work with hybrids resulting from crossbreeding Kaluga with other sturgeon species. The resulting fish tend to be smaller and less unruly than true Kaluga while preserving all its most valuable qualities. For your discerning tastes we offer the following three selections:
Kaluga Fusion Amber Caviar
This richly amber-colored roe comes from a hybrid of the Kaluga sturgeon (Huso dauricus) and the Amur sturgeon (Acipenser schrenkii), distinguished by its large, firm individual fish eggs and its full and mellow buttery taste.
Kaluga Fusion Gold Caviar
The traditional rich, creamy, and nutty flavor of the most beloved caviar is concentrated in the large, juicy, and firm beads of our Kaluga Fusion Gold, whose color ranges from a pale umber to a warm, rich brown.
Kaluga Fusion Black Caviar
This caviar is harvested from a farm-raised hybrid of Kaluga (Huso dauricus) and the Amur sturgeon (Acipenser schrenckii), a sizeable breed that produces large beads with a pearlescent envelope ranging in color from light gray to nearly black. The flavor of this cross-breed is outstanding: buttery, creamy, and nutty, with the clean breath of the sea so highly valued by gourmets.
Because of its close relationship with Beluga and similar life cycle, Kaluga and Kaluga fusion caviar are recommended as a substitute for – and have a price comparable to – Beluga, which can no longer be imported into the US following the 2006 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ban. Marky’s is proud to offer you this top quality alternative in three tempting varieties at our Gourmet Store.
Kaluga Sturgeon (Huso Dauricus). This species experienced an 80% population decline in the last 90 years and it continues to decline. Kaluga Sturgeon is listed as “critically endangered” species on the IUCN Red List and strictly protected by CITES. Kaluga Sturgeon can reach up to 18.6 feet and weight up to 2.205 lb. This is the largest fresh water fish in the world. Kaluga can live up to 80 years. Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 14-23 and spawn every 4-5 years. They carry about 41,000 eggs per kg of body weight. Males reach sexual maturity at the age of 14-21 and spawn every 3-4 years. They spawn from May through July. Kaluga sturgeons are native to the Amur River basin. It is a semi-anadromous fish. Kaluga never goes to the salt waters of the sea, but lives in the semi-salted waters in the mouths of large rivers and spawns upstream in fresh water. Kaluga lives in all types of benthic habitats in large rivers and lakes of the Amur River basin. Diet: Juvenile Kaluga feeds on invertebrates during their first year and then switches to small fish. From three to four years of age the diet consists mainly of adult fish. Cannibalism is also common.