Azerbaijani black caviar has always been considered a reference standard for a gourmet delicacy. Its exquisite taste and health benefits were highly appreciated both in the domestic market and abroad. However, today, the fake caviar that has broken into the market challenges its leadership. Cheap and fake caviar from China is increasingly occupying shelves in markets. In the last eight months alone, four tons of Chinese caviar were officially imported into the country.

Today, the Azerbaijani black caviar market has become an arena for unscrupulous manipulation. Fake caviar produced far from the Caspian Sea—in China—replaces the original Azerbaijani black caviar. It comes to the point that unscrupulous sellers repackage imported Chinese products grown on farms and pass them off as “illegal caviar from the sea.” As a result, the prestige of the national product suffers; such dishonest practices pose a threat to the health of consumers and cause significant damage to the reputation of high-quality Azerbaijani black caviar.

The flood of fake caviar from China creates problems for consumers: how to identify the authenticity of the products, whether they are safe to eat, and whether the taste meets expectations. In the fight for genuine quality, preservation of national traditions, and perception of flavor nuances, we have prepared material that will be useful to our readers. Further in the article, we will help you to understand how to avoid Chinese fake products and bring authentic Azerbaijani gourmet food back to the dining tables.

1. Legislation: Sturgeon fishing in the wild (from the sea) are prohibited by law.

The legislation of Azerbaijan, as well as that of all other civilized countries, prohibits fishing for sturgeon species. The ban was enforced to preserve and restore the sturgeon population. Today, the sturgeon population in the Caspian Sea is severely depleted; caviar from the wild is highly valued and expensive, and due to the risk of criminal prosecution, it is not sold “on the market.” Therefore, an offer to buy a few kilograms of caviar “from the sea” should immediately arouse suspicion. It is rational to flatly refuse the purchase to avoid becoming a party to a crime because such actions are not only illegal but may also irreparably damage the unique ecosystem of the Caspian Sea.

2. Shadow over Azerbaijani black caviar: Chinese fake caviar

China has indeed learned to produce almost everything. The only question is the quality and safety of such products. Black caviar is not an exception; far away from the salt water of the Caspian Sea, sturgeons are fed in freshwater reservoirs. Everything seems to be fine, but there are nuances.

First, all Chinese caviar is genetically modified. To produce a valuable product using available resources, Chinese farmers cross freshwater river sturgeons with sea sturgeons and then “improve” the product by altering the DNA. Despite all efforts, they can’t avoid the green tint specific to the freshwater Amur sturgeon (Acipenser schrenckii).

Secondly, the presence of chemicals in the water and fish due to the booming Chinese industry, attempts to speed up the rate of maturation of the fish, and the use of preservatives that are not safe for human consumption should cause consumer concern. We all know the health benefits of black caviar, but be careful if you consume or give your loved ones caviar of unknown origin. Chinese caviar is widely represented in the Azerbaijani market, and the design of the packaging often uses national symbols to create an illusion of local production.

3 Secrets of authentic black caviar: Unpack the packaging and figure out the labeling

When you purchase black caviar, pay attention to the packaging. The original products should be hermetically packed in vacuum-sealed jars. The jar should have no evidence of damage or vacuum deterioration. It is an important sign that the product has not been exposed to external factors, preserving its freshness and flavor. You run a high risk by purchasing a product that is lidded in your presence or with a polyethylene reusable lid.

Check for the necessary documentation, such as the quality certificate and labeling. These confirm that the product is authentic and meets standards.

Pay attention to the CITES certificate number on the jar; this is a guarantee that the product is legal and produced under international standards.

4. Storage with particular care: Temperature conditions for black caviar

The secret to the great flavor of black caviar lies not only in its production but also in its careful storage conditions. Optimal temperature ensures that each egg is in perfect condition, revealing its rich flavor and preserving its valuable nutritional properties.

Pay attention to the temperature conditions at the point of purchase; the original caviar should be stored in special refrigerators at a temperature of -2 to -4°C. It provides optimal conditions for preserving the flavor and quality of the product.

Be careful: frozen caviar loses not only its texture but also its nutritional properties and flavor. When choosing black caviar, make sure that it has been stored with particular care, preserving its unique properties.

5. Secure shopping: reliable suppliers and careful selection of points of purchase

Buy black caviar only from approved and trusted suppliers and stores where the authenticity of the product is guaranteed. Beware and avoid sellers who do not provide receipts; this is the first step to being sure of the quality of your purchase.

Choosing reliable suppliers will not only provide you with high-quality black caviar but will also create additional guarantees. In the event of any problems with the product, the availability of documents and the receipt will make it easier for you to make claims and resolve health issues. Ultimately, choosing points of purchase carefully will ensure that every gram of black caviar you buy is of high quality and safe.

6. Deceptive offers: Beware of large supplies of black caviar.

There are traps for buyers in the search for real black caviar, one of which is large-scale supplies from China masquerading as high-quality Azerbaijani caviar. Batches of low-quality Chinese caviar not realized in other markets continue to arrive in Azerbaijan.

Be extremely vigilant if you are offered to buy a large volume of black caviar at an attractive price. It can be a warning signal that you should refrain from getting involved in borderline bids. To buy a real delicacy, you should carefully choose a supplier so that your taste experience of black caviar exceeds expectations and allows you to enjoy the authentic treasure of the Caspian Sea.