There are foods on the exclusive market that are quite expensive due to the rarity of the product, astronomically expensive in some cases, appearing only at the tables of the rich and famous. Of those tasty aliments that are the most prized, some are meats, spices, fungi, fish eggs, melons, chocolate, saliva, yes, saliva, and even precious metals.
To start off, what is life without spice? The highest ranking of spices is the elusive Indian spice Saffron. Although Saffron is not hard to grow and is harvested worldwide, it is derived from the saffron flower which requires painstaking care to collect. The labor and resources needed to harvest just 1 pound of saffron takes 50,000 to 75,000 flowers to make. The sum total of an entire football field of these small flowers. The spice costs between $500 per pound to $5,000. With that price tag, the crocus saffron stamens pack the sweetest nectar at number 10.
9. The Densuke Watermelon
Watermelons may line the sides of country roads in summertime but these costly watermelons won’t be at any common picnic. These watermelons are not large in size, a measly 17 pounds, but in Japan they cost a great deal more than their weight and are made up mostly of water. The Dansuke Watermelon is a black watermelon, the most expensive watermelon in the world that is harder and more crisp than the American watermelon. One watermelon can cost as much as $6,100. They grow only on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and are usually given as rare gifts. Only a few grow, perhaps 65 in a season bringing the Dansuke Watermelon to number 9 of the top ten expensive, exclusive foods.
8. Yubari Melon
Another Japanese fruit, the Yubari melon can cost anywhere between $60 to $150 in the US. Generally, the best of the variety cost $200. In 2008 two Yubari melons went for $26,000. What do you think of them melons? They are grown in Yubari, Hokkaido, a small populated town close to Sapporo. They are similar in appearance to the common cantaloupe except they are perfectly round and have smooth skin. They are exceptionally sweet although the sweetness is not considered overpowering. It is said that the high volcanic ash content in the soil makes it the sweetest, juiciest melons in the world bringing these very special melons in at number 8.
7. Matsutake Mushrooms
Mushrooms are mysterious, neither plant nor animal, and the Matsutake mushroom, another Japanese delicacy is one mystery that costs between $90 to $905 per pound. It has been highly prized in Japan for centuries and is found on particular pine trees in Japan, Korea and China and a few other places in the world. They form a symbiotic relationship with the tree’s roots and never grow again in the same spot more than one time. The flavor is pungent, spicy and meaty like portobello mushrooms. The Japanese refer to it as the “the king of autumn flavor” and “the king of the mushrooms.” For such royal and luxury mushrooms, they pop up into the top ten list at number 7.
6. Chocopologie by Knipschildt
The most prized chocolate in the world is by Chocopologie by Knipschildt. It costs $2,600 per pound. It is a handmade chocolate truffle that contains 70% Valrhona cacao and black truffle. Dark chocolate is the most expensive and it can only be pre-ordered. The exclusive chocolate was created by Fritz Knipchildt, a Chocolatier from Denmark who moved to the US and founded his famous delicacy in 1996. It is made with no preservatives or additives and from what can be told about it, is a tiny morsel that any chocolate lover should not miss on luxury foods list.
5. Kobe Beef
The best of it comes from the most pampered cows in the world, the Wagyu cows of Japan. The most hefty priced beef, Kobe beef, comes from Japanese cows that are fed the best grass and beer! They are bovines raised in the lap of luxury receiving daily massages to ensure the tenderness of the product. The most expensive and sought after beef is the most tender in the mouth and the most hard on the wallet. A 200 gram filet costs more than $100. Up to $770 per kilo, the Kobe beef has a heavy marbling of fat that adds to the flavor of this legendary meat, bringing the Wagyu cows home at number 5.
The Almas Caviar (Beluga caviar) variety is the most highly esteemed because the eggs of the Beluga Sturgeon fish are very hard to come by. They are tiny, pale, amber eggs that cost an astounding $8,400 to $15,500 a pound. The word ‘Almas’ is Iranian for diamond and these little fish eggs sparkle the brightest. It is because the Beluga fish takes over 20 years to mature making its eggs limited. These fish are rare although they have existed for over 120 million years, they are the oldest survivors of the dinosaur era. The fish are found mainly in the Caspian Sea and live up to 80 years old. The Almas Caviar is prepared in Iran and is sold only in London at one outlet called, The Caviar House and Punier. The waiting list to buy this caviar is 4 years and it is sold in a 24 karat, gold tin box spawning in at number 4.
3. White Truffle
Who when they think of the most luxurious foods does not think of truffles? The holy grail of mushrooms is the White Truffle. Pigs root them out in the woods in search of the truffle’s unique aroma that resembles their own sex hormones. Neither animal nor plant, the White Truffle crowns the forest floors with the most prized truffle because of its intense flavor, aroma and scarcity. The White Truffle sells for between $1,360-$4,200 per pound and resists the measures man has taken to domesticate and cultivate it. The fungi is only found underground and grows on the roots of certain trees in particular regions in Italy and Croatia. The most expensive White Truffle ever sold was for $330,000! How’s that for a magic mushroom? It comes in at number 3!
2. Bird’s Nest Soup
One of the rarest and most expensive foods, and one of the highest sought after, is Bird’s Nest Soup. Otherwise known as the “Caviar of the East” this is a food that has been served in China for over 400 years. It is made up of the saliva nests built by cave swifts, a bird found in southeast China. It is dissolved in water to create a gelatinous soup. It is the most expensive animal product consumed by humans. In Hong Kong a bowl costs up to $30, the red version can cost $10 per gram, the most prized nests of them all. Per pound the cost ranges from $910 to $4,535. The saliva is believed to have nutritional, medicinal and aphrodisiac properties bringing in just a simple bit of spit at number 2.
No, these consumers do not have Pica, the nutritional disease where people eat things like plaster, dirt or newspaper. These people eat a precious metal because it has no ill effect on the human body and just because you can say you did. Eat this as the number one top ten of exclusive, luxurious and highly sought after foods and you too will be able to say you’ve eaten gold. It is the world’s most expensive food, a product with a flavorless taste, used mainly in small quantities as flakes or gold leaves for decoration to adorn other expensive foods. The price for edible gold is $33,000 – $110,000 per kilo. One gold-eating customer paid to cover an entire Christmas turkey with gold leaf. It is insanely popular around the time of the Oscars where people use it for drinks and to make Oscar-shaped cookies where gold, celebrities, and goodies gain certain attention.
So what about the health? Gold is a permissible food colouring with its own e-number which is E175. Gold was first used in cooking in the Middle Ages. While peasants went hungry the rich decorated their lavish banquets with a patina of gold. Roast birds and other meat dishes were wrapped in thin gold leaf in an ostentatious display of wealth. The most frequent use of gold in edible form today in its use by chocolatiers. Top quality chocolate makers often produce chocolates flecked with gold leaf. There is also a liqueur called Danziger Goldwasser which is flecked by minute particles of gold leaf suspended in the liquid. The liqueur is used the flavor the aptly named souffle Rothschild. Edible gold leaf is easily purchased from a range of suppliers who also supply gold powder and gold paints which contain the real thing. Premium food producers have even successfully markets marmalade with gold particles. The body does not absorb gold easily so what you eat will quickly leave the system. However, in larger quantities gold does become toxic and harmful to human health.