Are you thinking about staying in for New Year’s this year? Since you’re not spending the cash on a fancy dinner out, why not splurge on some caviar? Here are some tips…

When you’re ready to splurge, keep in mind that caviar connoisseurs generally agree that pasteurized caviar—which is not refrigerated and is sold in vacuum-packed jars—cannot begin to compare to the taste of fresh caviar…so buy fresh or don’t bother! Days long ago, we would recommend beluga, but it is now listed as an endangered species by the Fish and Wildlife Service and is illegal in the US. And supposedly the most expensive is not always the best tasting, according to this recent Serious Eats Guide: How To Buy Caviar.

• Take caviar out of the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before serving. If it’s going to be on a buffet table and may not be eaten for a while, keep it in its original jar or tin, and wedge that container into a bowl of crushed ice.

• Caviar should be served with crème fraîche (a cultured cream with the texture of a rich cream cheese, but with a taste that is more tart, like a fine yogurt) and fresh blini (buckwheat pancakes…here’s an easy recipe. If you don’t feel like making your own, both blini and crème fraîche tend to be available at specialty markets that also sell caviar.

• Never use a metallic spoon for scooping out, serving or eating caviar. The metal will taint the taste, giving it a “tinny,” unsavory flavor. The utensils of choice should be made from mother-of-pearl, bone or tortoise shell. The spoons are usually available wherever caviar is sold. (Of course, if you’ve spent too much money on the caviar, crème fraîche and blini, it’s perfectly fine to use plastic spoons.)

More ways to celebrate…

• Healing Rituals for the New Year

• Super Free Things to Do in NYC, Especially During the Holidays

• Make Your Family Reunion a Success

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