Caviar (kuru) is one of the Azeri luxuries, and you can taste it not only canned but also fresh. There’s some sturgeon farming but most caviar comes from the dwindling stocks of the Caspian sea. The epitome of fine dining, caviar was once readily available on the Caspian seaboard. In its purest (and priciest) form, caviar is the roe of the Caspian sturgeon, categorised into the ossetra, sevruga and sought-after beluga species. Over-fishing has resulted in a significant reduction in the local sturgeon population, and there are strict controls on caviar exports from Azerbaijan.
In certain countries, roe of other fish – particularly salmon – is described as ‘caviar’, as are the eggs of farmed sturgeon. For the real deal, at a far lesser price than outside the caviar producing countries, beluga caviar is sold in Baku’s Tara Bazaar.