Have you ever wondered what the most expensive food on earth are? Or if you wish to expand your horizon into the world of excess culinary expense, then you should take a look at the items on the list below. Amazingly, these concoctions, dishes and desserts cost more their weight in gold. They come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s have an in-depth look at a 33 thousand-dollar truffles, 12,000-dollar pizza or 8,000-dollar watermelon and so on.
Saffrona spice grown worldwide, is derived from the saffron crocus flowers. Almost all saffron grows in a belt bounded by the Mediterranean in the west and the rugged region encompassing Iran and disputed Kashmir in the east. The other continents, except Antarctica, produce smaller amounts. Some 300 tons of dried whole threads and powder are gleaned yearly, of which 50 ton is top-grade “coupe” saffron.Saffron’s aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet. To glean an amount of dry saffron weighing 1 lb (450 g) is to harvest 50,000–75,000 flowers, the equivalent of an association football field’s area of cultivation; 110,000–170,000 flowers or two football fields are needed to gross one kilogram. Forty hours of labor are needed to pick 150,000 flowers. Stigmas are dried quickly upon extraction and (preferably) sealed in airtight containers. Saffron prices at wholesale and retail rates range from US$500 to US$5,000 per pound, or US$1,100–11,000/kg, equivalent to £2,500/€3,500 per pound or £5,500/€7,500 per kilogram. A pound comprises between 70,000 and 200,000 threads. Vivid crimson colouring, slight moistness, elasticity, and lack of broken-off thread debris are all traits of fresh saffron.
The word ‘Almas’ means diamond, a fitting name for the world’s most expensive caviar. This Beluga caviar is white in appearance. The most expensive caviar comes from the Beluga Sturgeon, native to the Caspian Sea. Generally, the lighter the color of Beluga caviar the older the fish is. In Medieval Russia, caviar was a peasant food, but by the time Shakespeare wrote the famous, “twas caviary to the general,” caviar had gained its association with connoisseurship and luxury. An important fact about caviar is that the older the fish, the more elegant and exquisite is the flavor. Almas caviar comes from Iran making it extremely rare and extremely expensive. The only known outlet is the Caviar House & Prunier in London England’s Picadilly that sells a kilo of the expensive Almas caviar in a 24-karat gold tin for £16,000, or about $25,000. Coincidentally, it is also where you can find the most expensive meal in Britain. The Caviar House also sells a £800 tin for those on a smaller budget. All caviar has an extremely short shelf life, so if you’re able to afford it, make sure you eat it all!
Expensive truffles are notoriously pricey because they are difficult to cultivate. This makes them a true delicacy that some have called the king of all fungi. White truffles are more expensive than black truffles, but what are the most expensive truffles in the world? The Associate Press reported in 2006 that Hong Kong real estate investor Sir Gordon Wu and his wife paid €125,000 (US $160,787) at an annual truffle auction in Grizane, Italy, for a gigantic Italian White Alba truffle, reportedly the most expensive ever. This pricey truffle weighed in at 1.51 kilograms (3.3 lbs). In 2007, the record was beaten by a truffle weighing 3.3 lbs. Casino tycoon Stanley Ho purchased the white truffle, hailing from Tuscany, for US $330,000 at an annual auction in Hong Kong. In fact, Ho won the auction again in 2010 and even beat the previous record—pound for pound, at least. The latest auction was for two truffles weighing just under 3 lbs total. Once again, Ho paid $330,000 for the fungal delicacy. With the current popularity of culinary television shows like Iron Chef, expensive truffles are being exposed to a wider audience than ever before. Who knows how much the price for a kilo of truffles will cost in the near future?
When you think about expensive food, potatoes aren’t exactly the first ingredients that come to mind, are they? La Bonnotte potatoes are served only in the most luxurious restaurants. The price of one kilogram of La Bonnotte potatoes can reach $700, making it the most expensive potato on Earth. Its ridiculous price doesn’t just have to do with its delicious salty flavor, but also with the fact that it’s very rare. This variety of potato is only cultivated on Noirmoutier, an island off the coast of western France, and just 100 tons are produced every year, mainly because they have to be picked by hand. La Bonnotte’s tuber remains attached to the stem making too fragile to harvest by machine, not to mention it also needs to be fertilized with algae and seaweed to give it that distinct earthy, salty flavor. Its fragile nature simply didn’t make it profitable enough for large agricultural companies, and it was only because of the love and care of a few French potato lovers that it didn’t go extinct. Also known as The King of Potatoes, La Bonnotte is planted in February and ready to be picked in the first week of May. The entire crop is usually exhausted by the first weekend of the month, because they retain all of their flavor if their picked and shipped to the restaurant the same day.
The most expensive beef in the world is the type of beef coming from the Wagyu cows. These Japanese cows are fed the best grass and provided the best treatment. That is why the meat is especially tender and particularly expensive. 200 grams of a fillet cost in Europe more than 100 dollars. While Wagyu cattle are raised both in and outside Japan, the Kobe varietal which is raised specifically in the Hyogo prefecture is the most elite. Employing the most traditional production methods, Kobe beef comes from cows that are allegedly fed only beer and massaged by hand to ensure a tenderness and marbling beyond compare. These dishes can be out of range for the average restaurateur, carrying an unhealthy load of fat and a price tag to match. For your next after-work social, you might try taking your associates to New York City’s Craftsteak, where a full Wagyu rib eye was served up to a private party for $2800.
The most expensive sandwich in the world is the club sandwich from Essen aka von Essen Platinum Club Sandwich. This triple-Decker delicacy contains the finest chicken, ham, hard-boiled quails’ eggs and white truffles and it’s currently sold at Cliveden Berkshire. The chicken (poulet de Bresse) is referred to as the ‘fourth gastronomic wonder of the world served with a topping of white truffles, sold at over a thousand pounds. At 1182 calories, with 1.8oz of fat, it’s not the healthiest dish but certainly one of the most expensive. Costing 100 pounds (almost 200 dollars) this is a must-try for the food fanatics.
The most expensive pizza in the world, valued at $12,000 can be tasted in Agropoli, Salermo, Italy. With generous toppings of caviar and lobster and with Louis XIII Remy Martin cognac poured all over it, it is truly a pizza made for royalty. This elusive and little-known – or rather – poorly marketed pizza is offered in Italy by pizza maker Renato Viola. The 8-inch pizza is made 72 hours before to give the dough time to rest before being made into pizza. It is topped with the traditional mozzarella di bufala, three types of caviar, lobster from Cilento and Norway, and dusted with pink Australian salt from the Murray River. Each grain of salt is hand picked to ensure its great flavour. The cost includes service: a team of three (Renato Viola, a sommelier and a chef) will come and create this pizza for you in the comfort of your own home. The dishes and cutlery used are limited edition.
Have you ever eaten at an expensive fine dining restaurant and when you get the bill asked yourself “was it worth it?” Well, depending on your culinary tastes, and budget, you may or may not find yourself asking this very same question after dining at Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien hotel in New York City. The restaurant at Le Parker Meridien put itself on the map by offering the world’s most expensive omelette, or as they call it, “The Zillion Dollar Frittata”. This absurdly expensive breakfast item consists of a mixture of eggs, lobster and 10 ounces of sevruga caviar (which costs the restaurant $65 per ounce)…and a charge of $1000 on your bill. For those who want a taste of the expensive omelette but prefer to not eat their money, there is scaled down version available for $100. On the menu next to the expensive omelet there is a challenge that reads, “Norma dares you to expense this”. The general manager of Norma’s was quoted saying about the most expensive omelette, “Since we knew it was going to be a very expensive dish, we decided to have some fun with it. It’s not just a gimmick, though. It tastes good.”
Want to taste the most expensive curry in the world? It has been launched in bombay brasserie just for 2,000 pounds. Even amidst the recession days people who can afford this curry is craving for it. The origin of this curry is from none other than India. Samundari Khazana, or Seafood Treasure, is a mix of caviar, sea snails, a whole lobster and even edible gold. It is served by the treasure’s top-notch eatery Bombay Brasserie. Head chef Prahlad Hegde invented this curry from a basic Indian recipe he got from his mum. Here is glimpse into the recipe of Samundari Khazana: Hegde prepares the dish with Devon crab and white truffle. An assistant can painstakingly pressed gold leaf on to half a cherry tomato, its flesh replaced with Beluga caviar. The chef puts four sea snails – abalone – costing almost 300 pounds a kilo into a sizzling pan. Another cook coated an 80 pounds Scottish lobster in gold. The third cook deftly hollowed out four shelled quails’ eggs before filling them with more caviar. The fish and seafood is marinated in chilli and tamarind paste, slice truffle over the top to give it a nutty flavor. The five tiny shavings of truffle cost 90 pounds, while the shimmering, edible gold cost a staggering 1,000 pounds for just 10g. The curry has been created to coincide with the DVD launch of Oscar-winning flick Slumdog Millionaire, which is set in India.
Off to something sweet now with one of the most expensive deserts in the world, served at Serendipity 3, a popular restaurant in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The $1000 sundae dubbed as the Grand Opulence was introduced in 2004 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Manhattan’s restaurant and was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive dessert. It’s made up of 5 scoops of the richest Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, Madagascar vanilla, 23K edible gold leaf and one of the most expensive chocolates in the world, Amedei Porceleana, and covered with chunks of rare Chuao chocolate, which is from cocoa beans harvested by the Caribbean Sea on Venezuela’s coast. The masterpiece is suffused with exotic candied fruits from Paris, gold dragets, truffles and Marzipan Cherries. It is topped with a tiny glass bowl of Grand Passion Caviar, an exclusive dessert caviar, made of salt-free American Golden caviar, known for its sparkling golden color. It’s sweetened and infused with fresh passion fruit, orange and Armagnac How many customers have been willing to spend the $1,000 that this sundae costs? The founders admit it’s an outrageous price tag, but they say it has “snob appeal”. It has been popular enough since its introduction that they still serve it today, and recently the 15th Golden Opulence Sundae sold was ordered in advance for someone’s Sweet 16 birthday party. If you want to try it yourself, be sure to call ahead, as it takes a few days to prepare!
In a country where watermelons are rare game, they can be a costly commodity. That’s how a 17-pound Japanese watermelon may have recently become the most expensive watermelon in the world. Densuke watermelons, a type of black watermelon grown only on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, are usually given as gifts due to their extraordinary rarity. There were only sixty-five of the fruits among the first harvest this season. They are harder and crisper than the watermelons we Americans are used to and, according to Tohma Agricultural Cooperative’s spokesman, they “have a different level of sweetness.” The largest of the sixty-five Densuke, a twenty-four pound melon, sold for $5,945. It was a seventeen pound melon, however, that was judged the best of the crop and sold at auction for $6,100. As the most expensive watermelon ever sold in Japan, it is likely also the world’s most expensive watermelon.