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Top 10 Luxury Foods

Written by Top 100 Arena on 2012-09-06
To qualify as a luxury food, the item necessarily has to be very expensive. But is that enough? Many expensive foods are quite cheap at their pint of origin, and become more and more expensive the further they have to travel. Other items are very expensive because they are very rare. Rarity does not always make food palatable. Still others have an immense value-added factor, not unlike the extravagant roasts introduced by the Romans in which as many as 15increasingly small birds are stuffed inside a turkey. The individual ingredients are not necessarily rare or expensive, but the overall effect is extravagant, opulent and decadent. Using the criterion that a luxury food is one that many people would like to try, but few people can afford, here are 10 outrageously luxurious foods.

10 matsutake

Item 10

Not to be outdone by European truffles, the Japanese Matsutake mushrooms command similar prices. Not only have they been an important feature of Japanese cuisine for centuries, but they are also part of the tradition in the corporate world of giving mushrooms as a very special gift, one which ischerished by the recipient.

9 Saffron

Item 9

Saffron is a ridiculously expensive spice made from the stamens of the crocus sativus. Because these must be picked by hand and it takes thousands of flowers to produce an ounce of saffron, this little used spice costs in the region of $2,000 a pound. Fortunately it only requires a pinch to turn plain boiled rice into a visual and aromatic delight. It is said to have a hay-like fragrance, and a bitter taste. Turmeric works just as well, so using saffron is an unnecessary luxury.

8 Beluga Caviar

Item 8

Caviar, accompanied by champagne, is synonymous in most people’s mind with the rich and famous. Caviar is probably the most expensive single food in the world, and Beluga is the cream of the crop. The crème de la crème is the amber coloured Almas variety. The increasingly rare Beluga sturgeon lives in the Caspian Sea. Almas caviar is prepared in Iran and sells for more than $10,000 per pound – a 24 carat gold souvenir box may contribute to the cost.

7 Japanese melons

Item 7

With a diet that is dominated by rice, noodles, fish and pickles, it is not surprizing that the Japanese go crazy for fruit of many kinds. But the true luxury fruits are the melons, in particular the black Densuke Watermelon and the Yubari Melon. Grown in minute quatities only on Hokkaido, a single Densuke watermelon can cost up to $6,000. They are given as very important gifts. Also grown in Hokkaido, the somewhat less expensive Yubari melon looks like something like a cantaloupe. However, it is quite round, has a smooth skin and is exceptionally sweet due, it is said, to the high volcanic ash content of the soil.

6 Chocopologie

Item 6

Chocolate is considered – somewhat facetiously - to be a staple, one of life’s essentials, which is exactly the opposite of luxury. But in the hands of a master chocolatier, this favourite confection is elevated to the realm of fine art. Fritz Knipchildt’sChocopologie is the ultimateat around $2,600 per pound. It is handmade from 70% Valrhona cacao and does actually contain some black truffle, with no preservative or additives. Who needs them?

5 Foie Gras

Item 5

Foiegras, the “fat liver” of ducks or geese, is a delicacy that generates more controversy than most, due to the perceived cruelty of gravage, the system by which the birds are force-fed. They don’t seem to mind all that much, and gravage is not the only way to get the enlarged livers which make such a sensational pate.

4 Bird’s Nest Soup

Item 4

Cave Swifts have a unique way of creating nests: they spit a certain chemical compound into the air where it hardens to form what look like flakes off a quartered onion. Although certainly one of the most expensive items in the human diet, this Chinese delicacy may fail the luxury test – do lots of people who can’t afford it actually want to eat it. One writer described it as having a musty taste and a consistency like mucus, to put it delicately.

3 Fugu

Item 3

Another Japanese luxury is pufferfish or Fugu. Eating Fug is extremely rare outside Japan as its preparation requires rigorous training and certification because this celebrated delicacy is literally a “dish to die for”. A tiny amount of pufferfish poison is fatal, and incorrectly prepared dishes do lead to numerous deaths each year. Whether it is the taste, or the thrill of cheating death, the Japanese are prepared to pay handsomely for this peril from the sea.

2 Kobe Beef

Item 2

Fed on a secret formula of grass and beer, subject to daily massages, and genetically disposed to extensive marbling, the Wagyu cows of Japan’s Kobe area produce the most tender and delicious beef in the world. Also the most expensive. It has even been compared to foiegras for its smooth, rich texture. A six-ounce steak will set you back upwards of $100. This can be considered a luxury food on two levels: the pampered luxury in which the cows spend their lives, and what you get on your plate later.

1 White Truffles

Item 1

As with many luxury foods, the distinctive flavor (and pungent smell) of truffles is an acquired taste. As with saffron, a little goes a long way which is just as well as white truffles cost around $125 an ounce. The record price is $330,000. White Truffles cannot be cultivated and are, therefore, rare. They are available only from September to December and come fromone small area of Italy.Truffles are not cooked; they are sliced into extremely thin slivers and served on top of other food. Truffle-infused oil is another a way to get the flavor off season.

\r\nWithout doubt, the most outrageous, decadent, over-the-top luxury food has to be the $666 Doucheburger. It has been described as (expletive) delicious, and not worth the trouble. It takes most of the items on this list and assembles them into a concoction that surely has more to do with “what can we get away with” than striving for an exquisite culinary delight. Recipe: wrap some gold-leafed Kobe beef around some foiegras, top with cave-aged gruyere cheese and truffle butter. Throw in a bit of lobster and caviar for good measure and top it all off with akopiluwak barbeque sauce. (Kopi luwak is the $160 per pound coffee notable not just for price, but because the beans are “roasted” by passing them through the digestive tract of a civet). Yummm.\r\n\r\n

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