What's the most expensive food and drink you can get? Kirsty Page finds out.
We all feel a bit guilty after a splurge at the shops, but rest assured you bank balance would have suffered a lot more had any of the items below been on your shopping list!
1. Matsutake mushrooms:
Grown on pine trees throughout Japan, China and Korea, Matsutake mushrooms are a cut above your buttons, chestnut or even porcini mushrooms.
Harvesting is extremely difficult, hence the hefty price tag, and they are considered very valuable gifts in the corporate world. A kilogram of matsutake can set you back as much as £1,420.
2. Kobe beef:
This prized meat comes from the Wagyu breed of cattle reared in Japan. The most highly sought after beef comes from the black Tajimi-ushi breed from the Hyogo area. Regular massages are thought to help create the marbled effect which gives the meat its distinct flavour and tender texture.
Sounds good, but be warned – you’ll have to fork out over £190 per pound if you want to sink your teeth into this exclusive piece of meat.
3. Almas caviar:
Caviar screams luxury at the best of times, so if someone whips out a pot of Almas, then you know you’re in for a treat.
These golden eggs of the Beluga Sturgeon hail from the Caspian Sea and come from albino sturgeons that are at least 70 years old. The world ‘Almas’ means diamond – fitting for a luxury that can cost around £16,000 per kilo!
4. Jamón Ibérico de Bellota:
This is one pricey pig. Translating as Iberian acorn ham, the Black Iberian pig lives in forests along the Spanish/Portuguese border and eats, you guessed it, acorns.
The meat is dark red, marbled with fat which melts in your mouth, releasing a sweet, nutty flavour. Retailing at more than £100 per kilo, this isn’t likely to go into your ham sandwiches at lunchtime. Best to keep it for a special occasion...
5. White truffles:
Originating in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, these funny knobbly looking things sell for between £900 and £1,900 per pound.
Notoriously difficult to find, truffle hunters have to enlist help from their trusted pigs. The truffle is said to have an aroma that resembles that of a porcine sex hormone, which is why probably why the pigs seem so keen to unearth these little gems.
Its rich aroma and intense flavour makes the white truffle the most highly prized of all – so much so that in a charity auction, a 1.5kg white truffle sold for £165,000!
6. Chocopologie truffle:
From one truffle to another, this chocolate variety is the creation of Danish chocolatiere, Fritz Knipschildt.
The truffle ganache is made from French Valrhona chocolate blended with fresh cream infused with vanilla pods and truffle oil.
As if this wasn’t extravagant enough, encased inside the ganache is a French Perigold truffle. The amount of work that goes into each chocolate is, in part, why it is so expensive. Selling for over £1,600 a pound, this isn’t exactly the thriftiest way to get a sugar fix.
A key ingredient in many Moorish, Mediterranean and Asian dishes, saffron is the undisputed king of the spices.
Derived from the saffron crocus, this spice has been cultivated for over 3,000 years and at times, has been worth more than gold.
One pound of dry saffron requires between 50 and 75,000 flowers which goes a long way in explaining why it can cost between £350 and £3,500 a pound.
8. La Bonnotte:
You may not have thought that the humble potato would ever sell for much but think again – the La Bonnotte variety can cost up to £400 a kilo.
Grown in France on the Isle of Noirmoutier, La Bonnotte almost went extinct between WWI and WW2. It is prized for its complex flavour, enhanced by the algae and seaweed added to the soil in which it grows.
Too fragile to harvest by machine, each potato has to be lovingly dug up, and with a season that lasts just 10 days, this really is the world’s most exclusive potato!
9. Kopi Luwak coffee:
Why not wash down all this luxurious food with an equally expensive drink? Kopi Luwak isn’t the most conventional cup of coffee you’re likely to drink, seeing as it’s harvested from the droppings of the Asian Palm civet.
Produced primarily in Indonesia, the civets eat the coffee berries which then pass through their system undigested. It is said that the acid in the civet’s stomach causes an enzymatic process that creates a complex and unique flavour.
Given its questionable hygiene levels and a price tag of between £140 and £700 a kilo, I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to stick to your usual blend!
10. Tieguanyin tea:
If civet coffee wasn’t up your street, then a cup of Tieguanyin tea might be more your thing.
Named after the Buddhist deity, Guan Yin, it falls somewhere between a black and a green tea and costs around £1,700 per kilo. If you are going to shell out, then you’ll be pleased to know that the leaves can be brewed several times before they lose their flavour. Practically a bargain then...
So what do you think? Any of these bank busting treats worth it? Or do you have any of your own versions that you think would stand up in a taste test? Use the comments box below!
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