Some St. Petersburg residents are going to be sadly without caviar at their New Year’s Eve parties tomorrow after police raided a hospital morgue where they found a whopping 375 pounds of the stuff hidden in a cooler where cadavers are usually kept. Two men were arrested, one of them a hospital employee, and they claimed the stuff was “a treat for hospital employees at a New Year’s party.” 375 pounds? Please. This was clearly just one of multiple black market operations that are still moving the illegal but delicious sturgeon eggs around Russia to this day, despite the fact that sturgeon fishing was banned there several years back.
St. Petersburg police say they later found and confiscated another 220 pounds of caviar, after the morgue discovery, which was headed for sale in local markets.
Beluga caviar from Russia has been all but unheard of in the States, except via underground sources, since 2005, after sturgeon were becoming virtually extinct in Russian waters. Even renowned caviar purveyor Petrossian has resorted to selling farmed caviar from Sacramento and Israel, some of which they say is just as high quality as the good old wild stuff.
But obviously if you’re in Russia and you know the right coroner …