Some things are just meant to go together. Peanut butter and jelly. Coffee and cream. Ketchup and… caviar? It might sound like a slightly unusual combination, but Heinz is certain they’re onto something with the idea — so they’ve made it happen: Heinz Ketchup Caviar is officially A Thing. To be fair, they’ve launched this unexpected new condiment for a very special reason: The company that would eventually grow into the H. J. Heinz Company (now part of Kraft Heinz) was founded in 1869. That’s right — it’s Heinz’s 150th birthday. There’s no time like a birthday to break out the most ridiculous and amazing food items you can find; ergo, Ketchup Caviar.
You’re probably aware that caviar is made of salt-cured roe, or fish eggs — but what you may not know is that technically, only the salt-cured roe of wild sturgeon from the Caspian and Black Seas is caviar. The term is often widely used to refer to many a type of salt-cured roe these days, though — which is consistent with the historical record: It’s believed that ancient cultures in locations ranging from Egypt to Greece began salting and pickling fish eggs in order to make a long-lasting foodstuff as far back as 2400 BCE, according to the Kitchen Project.
Tomato ketchup, meanwhile, is a bit more recent — but it still goes back a lot further than I’m betting most people probably think. Per National Geographic’s unexpectedly thorough history of the sauce, the first published recipe for tomato ketchup, written by scientist and horticulturalist James Mease, arrived in 1812 — making the condiment over 200 years old. Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley and Henry J. Heinz began producing a modified version of ketchup in 1876 at Heinz’ Pittsburgh plant, and, well… here we are.
Since the company started by Henry J. Heinz has been around for so long — it came into being in 1869, a few years before ketchup got added to the lineup — it’s unsurprising that it would have a hugely diverse portfolio of offerings by now; indeed, even just in the ketchup arena, Heinz boasts tons of different formulas, flavors, and even bottle shapes. Caviar, though? That’s unlike anything else they’ve offered before. Yes, unlike even purple and green ketchup. (The early '00s were a weird time.)
In honor of their 150th anniversary — and, I suspect, also as a Valentine’s Day gimmick — Heinz has launched Ketchup Caviar, which combines the salty taste of caviar with the sweet yet sharp tang of tomato ketchup. According to the brand itself, it’s meant to “elevate any true ketchup lover’s Valentine’s Day meal, and provide a new and tastier way to enjoy caviar” — which, uh, sounds a tiny bit ridiculous, but then again, I have a feeling the combination of highbrow and lowbrow is the appeal of the whole thing. Who says burgers can’t be classy? Have you met my friend, Burger With Ketchup Caviar? They’re the classiest burger you’ll ever find!
There’s a catch, though: Only 150 jars of Ketchup Caviar are available — and you can’t buy them in stores. Starting today, Jan. 24, through Jan. 28, 2019, stop by Heinz’ Twitter page, @HeinzKetchup_US; you can find out how to get your hands on a jar — or at least, find out how to get the chance to get your hands on a jar — there. I cannot tell you more than that.
Good luck, team. May your days be full of delightful contradictions like Ketchup Caviar for as long as you desire them to be.