Once considered a symbol of luxury, Caviar is undergoing a quiet revolution, finding its way onto the plates of a new generation. No longer confined to exclusive dining rooms and champagne-fueled extravagance, this delicacy now appears in unexpected places, even desserts.
So, why are broke Gen Zs splurging on caviar, and how has its image evolved? Let’s dive into this intriguing culinary transformation.
Unlikely Rise in Popularity
Step into Caravel, a friendly canal boat restaurant in Islington, north London, and you’ll find an intriguing surprise on the menu – potato rosti crowned with a dollop of caviar. It’s a dish that has taken the younger crowd by storm, defying the stereotypes associated with caviar.
Lorcan Spiteri, co-founder of Caravel, explains that the combination of crunch, salt, umami, and smooth dairy fats, all priced at an affordable £6.50, has been irresistible to customers. This unconventional caviar pairing showcases a shift in how younger generations perceive and enjoy this delicacy.
Ethical Sourcing and Versatility
Beyond Caravel, caviar is cropping up in unexpected places, including desserts. At Lord’s Cricket Ground, visitors to the Home of Food festival had the opportunity to savor “bumps” of Exmoor Caviar, a more budget-friendly option at £5 compared to a £50 jar.
This shift towards accessibility is partly due to caviar producers recognizing the changing preferences of their consumers. Harry Ferguson, operations director at Exmoor Caviar, highlights this evolution. While traditional caviar service still exists in upscale establishments, the cost has become more affordable over the past decade.
Chefs now see it as a versatile, high-value ingredient that elevates the dining experience. Influential figures embracing caviar inspire others, making it accessible to younger generations. Today, they can enjoy it at their local restaurant, avoiding the hefty price tag.
Social Media’s Influence on Caviar’s Appeal
The power of social media also plays a role in caviar’s resurgence. Instagram and TikTok are awash with hashtags like #caviarcreations and #caviaradventures. Millennials and Gen Z are more adventurous in their culinary endeavors.
They explore unconventional ways to enjoy caviar, such as incorporating it into sushi rolls, garnishing chips, or enhancing pizza. This creativity has redefined caviar as a versatile and trendy ingredient.
Caviar’s Widespread Appeal Across the UK
Caviar’s popularity isn’t limited to London alone. From baked Jersey Royals with creme fraiche and caviar at Fold in Marple Bridge, Stockport, to seabass with imperial caviar and champagne sauce at the Dew Drop in Maidenhead, caviar is proving its versatility and adaptability across the UK.
Chef Tommy Banks even offers tins of Exmoor’s caviar, rebranded as “Cornish Salted Caviar,” through his popular Made in Oldstead delivery service.
The Unexpected Caviar Enthusiasts
Bob Bob Ricard restaurants in the City and Soho, known for their opulent ambiance and “Push for champagne” buttons, have attracted a different demographic to caviar: their children, not the older generation.
Their “degustation” of caviar, featuring three varieties served with blinis and sour cream at £49, is particularly popular among millennials. It’s not about showcasing affluence; it’s about the experience.
Leonid Shutov, Bob Bob Ricard’s chief executive, observes that caviar is now cropping up in places one wouldn’t expect. Gen Z’s aesthetic appreciation for the “old school” vibe of caviar and its perceived health benefits seems to be driving this trend. Unlike other indulgences like brandy, cigars, and foie gras, caviar is considered a virtuous luxury, packed with nutrients and healthy fatty acids.