Having spent the past couple of days writing about caviar - and bemoaning the fact that my budget doesn't run to even the less expensive farmed stuff (which in fact makes up practically all the caviar that's on sale these days) - it was good to discover that there's a low cost substitute: seaweed caviar which I was sent by Porter Foods of Wallington in Surrey.
My first reaction was that there was no way this could give an iota of the gratification of the real thing and that's true but that doesn't mean it's not a perfectly good product. It does taste faintly fishy and the texture IS - amazingly - bubbly. It would be fine for canapés, served Russian-style with chopped egg and onion or dolloped on top of a baked or boiled potato and sour cream. And it's only 80 calories per 100g which makes it the perfect diet food (so long as you hold the sour cream and spuds, obviously)
The main downside - and it's a major one - is that it's not vegetarian which seems to me to be missing a trick with any caviar-craving veggies out there. It contains cod liver oil, squid ink and 'black caviar flavour' which may or may not be fish-based. And while I accept that seaweed contains health-giving vitamins and minerals I'm not wholly convinced by the claim on the jar that it's "loaded with antibiotic properties", a quasi-medical claim I'm surprised they can make.
Still, if you want a dinner party conversation-stopper it fits the bill nicely. And at £5.99 it won't break the bank.