Caviar is a delicacy typically only associated with the very fancy and the very rich. It turns out, one expert is convinced there’s a right way to eat caviar, and it makes eating caviar seem even more bougie. You’re supposed to eat it off the back of your hand, between your index finger and thumb.
“If you eat something off of your hand, your brain automatically says that there is no flavor profile or texture coming off the back of your hand,” Knierim said. “But if you eat something off a spoon, your brain tells you that a spoon has a taste and a texture to it.
“But [people] realized there was bacteria being passed along by the palm of the hand, but the back of the hand was the purest form, because they could actually put caviar on the back of the hand and not pass disease along from one person to the next,” he said. “They would actually taste the caviar off the back and if they liked it, they would take that tin. If they didn’t like it, they would open up another tin and let the customer choose which one they wanted.”
Knierim said caviar purveyors have eaten the delicacy this way for years. But it’s taken other people a little longer to catch on.
“There are more people learning to enjoy caviar off the back of their hand versus putting it on a blini with egg and all the other accoutrements,” he said. “Most times in restaurants people are going to put it on a toast point or a blini because of decorum.”
Even though it might look foolish to eat caviar like this, it actually helps get a “cleaner flavor” of the caviar, according to Knierim. And the uncomfortableness associated with eating it like this will fade.
“I think getting people to try it for the first time like that is really important. When somebody’s never had good caviar it really makes a huge difference,” Knierim said. “Most people don’t know how to smell caviar [the correct way], and if it has a smell to it, you don’t want to eat it. If it’s on the back of your hand, you can smell the difference [between good or bad] right away.”
He added, “I think it’s a very sensual food to begin with. As soon as you add eating it off of your own hand, I just think it takes on a different dynamic.”
But if you must take your caviar with something, Knierim said his favorite way to eat it off-the-hand is on a buckwheat blini with nothing else on it.