04 October 2012

(VMF 6-4) Product Review: Cavi-Art

When Melisser of Vegan Cuts offered to send samples of Cavi-Art to review*, I was immediately interested, if not also intrigued. Called "a delicacy of seaweed [that] looks and tastes like lumpfish caviar," Cavi-Art is certainly a unique product. The kind people at Plant Based Foods, Inc. sent along a small jar each of black, orange, and green Cavi-Art.
Among the "Facts and Benefits" list included with the samples, I found these facts particularly worth noting:
- Cavi-Art is a cholesterol-free vegetable which is more healthy than traditional caviar.
- Cavi-Art production does not contribute to the depletion of the fish stock in the seas.
- Cavi-Art contains only natural colors (no AZO colors) and only natural preservatives are used.
- Cavi-Art is very environment-friendly since less than 5% of the seaweed growth is harvested.
Although I cannot recall a single time I've eaten actual caviar back in my pre-vegan days, or perhaps because of it, I was drawn to the opportunity to give this fish-free, seaweed-based version a try.

Alone, all three flavors tasted quite similar: slightly salty, perhaps briny, with a fine, delicate texture. The green (wasabi) Cavi-Art seemed to be the most unique of the three sample flavors I received; the ocean-reminiscent flavor common to all three Cavi-Art varieties here finished with the slightest wasabi touch. Deeming it an appropriate match for Asian cuisine, I treated the green Cavi-Art much like traditional wasabi, applying it to the top of brown rice roasted pepper nigiri (adapted from this recipe). The seaweed essence, a natural complement to sushi, came through. It was nice, but I couldn't help but be left wanting a bit from the lack of wasabi punch one might expect from an item named for it.
For the orange Cavi-Art, I paired it with whole wheat linguine in a creamy, cashew-cannellini sauce. The Cavi-Art added a fine, subtle saltiness to the dish, as well as a pop of orange color the deceptively bland-looking sauce so desperately needed.
My favorite of the three samples was the black Cavi-Art, which is most unique in how well it visually matches what I think of when conjuring images of traditional caviar. Along with the orange version, the black is part of the original Cavi-Art line, which is composed of products most like actual, fish-derived caviar. So for me, the interchangeability of the orange and black Cavi-Art was one that boiled down to visual aesthetics. Going with what I figured was a fairly traditional way of enjoying caviar, I made buckwheat blini as a base for the black Cavi-Art. I slightly adapted this blini recipe (using all buckwheat and adding a touch of salt and sugar). A small dollop of leftover cashew-cannellini sauce topped each blini, with scallion and black Cavi-Art to garnish. It made for a simple yet delightful appetizer or snack. Again, the Cavi-Art added subtle saltiness and a pleasantly striking color contrast.
Cavi-Art is certainly a unique product. I appreciate that enough creativity and skill exists in the world to produce such an interesting and convincing representation of caviar that also makes sense and tastes good. Although I'm not likely to be a regular consumer of something like vegan caviar, it would be fun to use it for a special luncheon or dinner party.

***
Vegan Cuts is kindly offering a discount code for my readers; enter the code BLOGFRIEND to receive an additional 10% off your order (doesn't apply to shipping). The offer expires 31 October 2012.

Please visit Vegan Cuts to discover more deals on unique vegan products, sign up for the mailing list, and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

*Full disclosure: The samples of Cavi-Art featured here were provided free-of-charge by the distributing company via Vegan Cuts, for the purposes of review. The opinions expressed here are my own; I was neither paid nor obligated to provide a positive review of any product presented here.

12 comments:

  1. Ah, that's really pretty! All of your dishes look great too, especially the sushi.

    I have always always hated things like caviar (fishy tasting AND weird texture? Kill me now!) but my dude used to be into fish roe so who knows... Maybe he'll find this in his stocking at Christmas.

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  2. I just ordered this today! Can't wait to try it!

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  3. I love the idea of cholesterol-free fish caviar! Fish eggs from all kinds of fish are a regular part of my diet, though I've been warned about the cholesterol. But what was the texture like? For me, it's the texture that differentiates one kind of fish eggs from another, since the flavor of all tend to be what the Japanese call "the flavor and aroma of the sea."

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  4. typo= I meant vegetarian caviar, not fish caviar. ;p

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  5. Any chance you'll post the cashew-cannelini sauce? I would be a very happy reader if you did.

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  6. How intriguing! Can't say that I've ever been attracted to eating actual caviar in my pre-vegan days, so I doubt I'd try this, but it's so pleasing to get one more proof that anything not vegan can and has been (or will be at some point) made into a satisfying vegan version.

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  7. This looks fantastic! I would like to try it soon!

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  8. So interesting to see how much this looks like fish eggs. Maybe too much!

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  9. I was never much of a fish egg-eater, so I think the differences between each type of egg (including this vegan "caviar") were always too nuanced for me to detect. The texture for all of them remind me of the real deal, although I suppose the black caviar might be more delicate than the orange; the little orbs seem a little finer or smaller, perhaps.

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  10. I thought about writing down what I did, but eventually I really started winging it in terms of amounts. I can tell you, though, that I used a 15-oz can of cannellini beans, 1/2 c soaked and drained raw cashews, a clove or two of garlic, white miso, whole grain mustard, dill, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and enough water to make a thick-ish sauce when whizzed together in a high-speed blender. I also heated it gently on the stove before tossing it with the pasta. Sorry for not having an official recipe, but I hope this helps in the meantime!

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  11. Jojo @ vegan.in.brighton10/6/12, 10:03 AM

    The caviart on blini's looks perfect.

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  12. Sam AL-shaibany12/28/13, 6:40 AM

    Please everyone watch earthlings and gary yourofsky on youtube please and please go vegan it's better for us it's better for the animals and it's better for the planet that we live on and be careful sugar is not vegan because of the bone char just search online for vegan sugar brands or just call the company or e mail them and ask them if they use bone char and be careful with the products that contain sugar just read the ingredients btw beet sugar and evaporated cane juice are vegan

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Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)