Has it really been 6 years since I last had vegetarian caviar? That’s far too long! Sadly, the manufacturers of that particular brand have disappeared – so I was overjoyed when I discovered the UK-based Vegetarian Caviar Club.
There are four flavours available, and jars cost between £6 and £7 plus postage.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first – I’ve never had real caviar. Not the hundred-quid-a teaspoonful proper stuff. If you’re reading this blog, I doubt you have either! Before I become vegetarian, I tried salmon roe (a bit gritty for my tastes) and various other fish-eggs (delicious) but nowadays I stick to the veggie friendly substitutes.
So, what are they like?
First up, the “red” flavour.
They certainly look the part! Gorgeous colour, big red globules, tightly packed in the jar – there’s liquid in there, but not so much that you feel ripped off. Mouthfeel is excellent – I was expecting sticky or slimy, instead they bounce around the tongue quite happily. The flavour is salty – with a hint of smoked paprika. I would happily have taken a stronger flavour – it got a little lost when combined with cream-cheese and toasted bread.
Next, we tried the slightly luminous Wasabi flavour.
I’ve tried fresh Wasabi a couple of times – these caviar pearls use imitation flavour (mustard and horseradish, I think). Again, the flavour is quite delightful when eaten on something plain. We had a little sour-cream and chives which swamped the flavour.
In fairness, these are designed as garnishes – they’re not going to be the central part of your meal, but will make an excellent accompaniment to home-made sushi, or lightly sprinkled over something with a subtle flavour.
I paid £35 for four 135g jars with next-day delivery. That’s a lot cheaper then buying real caviar – but it is pricey. If you’re looking to impress your veggie friends at your next high-class dinner party, or if you just want to treat yourself to a little culinary luxury, these are perfect.