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Pearl of the North Bay

By Andrea Stuart | Photos Courtesy of The Caviar Company

As sweet, plump oyster meat dances with the acids in Champagne mignonette, the tongue celebrates. When their flavor coalesces with hackleback caviar’s nutty essence, the experience is purely decadent.

In 2015, Petra Bergstein Higby and her sister Saskia Bergstein opened The Caviar Company to share their appreciation for those tiny pearls harvested from the sturgeon fish by providing responsibly sourced caviar to the intrepid consumer. “When my sister and I started the business, we wanted to focus on collaboration, long-lasting relationships, and mutualism,” says Higby. “Sustainability is important to us. We began this venture with a wholesale perspective.”

The Caviar Company opened a Champagne and caviar tasting room in Tiburon this year, on March 27, with a focus on showing people the multitude of ways caviar can delight the palate. With respect to tradition, the venue features tried-and-true items with a twist, including House-Made Blinis served with smoked salmon, crème fraiche, onions, and the crème de la crème, Russian osetra caviar.

For those seeking a playful experience, the Chips and Dip with Smoked Trout Roe and Sal de Ibiza chips or the Black Truffle Grilled Cheese with aged cheddar, Truffle Shuffle Carpaccio, brioche, chives, and Classic White Sturgeon Caviar will hit the spot.

The Caviar Company strives to keep creativity and accessibility at the heart of its operation. Higby is responsible for some of the more unique pairings. “I’m a sweets person. I know my milkshakes as much as I know caviar,” she admits with a chuckle. “We worked with Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco to create a caviar-topped ice cream: strawberry white chocolate ganache topped with caviar. It blew people away!” And she’s looking forward to starting up the caviar dinners once again. “We leave all menu items and decisions to the chefs. We just ask that they use caviar from start to finish, including dessert.”

As much as Higby appreciates the way caviar marries with the mineral finish of a Champagne, at home she often enjoys pairing the piscine pearls with vodka. “I once questioned if we could pair caviar with whiskey. You absolutely can!”

The menu is formed on a build-your-own service, in which patrons can choose a caviar or roe, accoutrements, and a beverage for a fully customized caviar experience. Each seating comes with a complimentary cup of Truffle Shuffle popcorn.

For those who would like to sip and savor, the tasting room, whimsically, has a Champagne vending machine that dispenses half bottles of Moët and Chandon Impérial Brut and Impérial Rosé. Patrons can also order glasses of wine and bottle service from the tasting room’s sparkling collection, including Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot, as well as Prosecco and local bubbles.

Higby enjoys inspiring creativity. So don’t be surprised if you see salted caramel crème fraiche ice cream topped with roe as a menu item someday. Champagne and caviar will surely stand the test of time. For Higby and family, it’s is a family legacy—a pearl in the North Bay.

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