What Is A Caviar Key (& Do You Need One)?

Have you had caviar at home? If you haven't, know that it's one way to enjoy this delicacy at a better price than you would at a restaurant, and it presents an opportunity to test out pairings that you might not find when fine dining.

If you have had the pleasure of indulging in fish eggs in the comfort of your home before, you may know that it's packaged in a vacuum-sealed tin that can be a challenge to crack open. Attempting to pry the seafood delicacy free with a butter knife or a flathead screwdriver may make this luxurious experience feel a little less than that. If only there were a magic key to opening this treasure.

Spoiler alert: there is. It's called a caviar key, and this tiny gadget could simplify the experience — not to mention that whipping out one attached to your keychain might be pretty convenient.

You don't need a caviar key, but they can be useful

Owning one of these specialty devices has its benefits. Rather than scouring the house for an alternative tool that might do the trick and having trial-and-error, you will always have the exact gadget you need to get the job done right at your fingertips. All you've got to do is reach for your caviar key and enjoy. 

However, at the end of the day, this item isn't a necessity. There are other ways to get the tin open. Caviar Star explains that the process can actually be quite simple: slide a coin, butter knife, or another tool with a thin metal edge under the lip of the lid and apply a little pressure. With a "pop," it should slip off. However, depending on the gadget you use, this process may be more cumbersome. It will take more finagling to find the proper angle, and the gap your tool needs to fit in is quite small, so you may have trouble finding something that works. If you want to ensure a seamless operation each time, a caviar key is the way to go.

Using a caviar key is quite simple

We've explained how simple the process of opening one of these tins without the proper tool can be, so imagine how much easier it is if you do have one. According to Oh! Caviar, just break the paper seal on the tin, slip the key under the lip as you would with any other tool, and give it a twist. That's it!

The best part? These fanciful little instruments are so small that they can fit in a wallet, in a handbag, in your pocket, or even on a key ring. A travel-sized gadget ensures that you are "always prepared for sudden outbreaks of decadence," as Margaret Eby puts it (via Food & Wine). Even if those luxuries are few and far between, you know that when they do come, you'll be prepared. After all — you now have the key to the kingdom.

They're available anywhere you can buy good caviar

To find a caviar key, simply visit your local specialty food store or anywhere that sells quality caviar. Eataly, Caviar Star, and even Amazon are different online retailers that offer them.

However, the catalog of fish egg accessories doesn't end with this tool. High-end brands like Chanel sell designer key holders specifically for these trinkets. There are also specialty bowls that are shaped similarly to ice cream dishes designed to keep this delicacy chilled, as tradition dictates. And there are mother-of-pearl spoons, too, which some claim are essential to maintaining the integrity of the dish's flavor (via Imperia Caviar). These are entirely different conversations, of course. Whether you choose to invest in a key or take the alternative path and wing it with a different tool, you now possess the knowledge to do it with confidence. You know what you're doing.