Get to know the food of Royalty

New Year’s Eve is upon us and it’s time for Champagne and Caviar. Just as we’ve been schooled by the media mavens in the intricacies of Champagne, it is now time to learn more about caviar;  the ultimate luxury – when one knows what’s in the expensive or not so expensive jar − for a deliciously fun and happy celebration.

So I was invited to the headquarters of Marky’s Caviar down the road from what was the immigration building, now closed, and across the street from a strip mall with boarded up stores.  This once seedy area is in the process of being gentrified, which explains the forbidding gate protecting the Marky’s Caviar compound.

The small store that businessmen Mark Zaslavsky and Mark Gellman – two Ukrainian émigrés and caviar importers and distributors − opened thirty years ago, was always a fascinating place to visit and not only for the Russian caviar, the foie gras and the French cheeses.  An array of exotic looking products labeled in Cyrillic were a magnet for Soviet émigrés,  for Cubans émigrés nostalgic for the products provided in the old days by their Soviet guests , and for the insatiably curious, like me.

What had evolved as a bona fide gourmet store has been expanded at the hands of President and COO Christopher Hlubb and turned into a highly specialized fine foods store and warehouse.  There, the best handpicked products from Spain, Italy, France and Eastern Europe take turns on the center stage demo table manned by Maître Affineur and  buyer Marc Navailles.