If you thought caviar was out of your price range, better pop down to M&S, which is selling Iranian Sevruga caviar at pounds 25 per 50g pot. But what if you're not sure you like it?

"If people say they don't like caviar, it's usually because they haven't tasted the real thing," says John Stass, managing director of WG White, a leading caviar wholesaler. "Proper caviar has nothing to do with the little blobs of lumpfish you might find on a canape."

There are three main types, each with a distinctive taste and appearance: Beluga, Oscietra and Sevruga. Beluga is the most expensive, because it is the rarest, but many people prefer one of the other two varieties.

You can enjoy it on toast or with blinis and sour cream. But the true connoisseur will simply scoop a pile of roe (preferably with a mother- of-pearl spoon, never metal) on to their hand between thumb and forefinger and lick. Like a fine wine, you should let the caviar settle in your mouth so that the light membrane dissolves and the flavours evolve.

According to Mr Stass, caviar is becoming more popular to have at home on special occasions (sales went up around Valentine's Day). If you are willing to spend pounds 20 on a bottle of champagne, then a tin of caviar does not seem that expensive. After all, what could be more romantic than waking up to a little blinis, caviar and a good vintage.

Available in selected M&S stores. For local stockists call WG White on 07000 288 427.