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The world’s most expensive foods

Zubin D’souza

Sometime back during the much publicised ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the world had to face the harsh reality that we live in a world where there are stark divides between those who live in luxury and those who struggle to survive. There is no limit to opulence; no matter how well off you may be, there is always a higher level that you may realise is probably just out of your grasp.
I do not come from a family that is really well off. My dad endured struggle his entire life trying to ensure our future but dumb luck and silly choices kept causing hurdles in his path of self reliance. One of the primary reasons I chose to become a chef is because somewhere in my unconscious I guess I needed the comfort of the fact that my meals would be assured. I think that later on passion took over and I cannot have this out of my system.
With the pleasures of eating being placed on the same platform as other sensory weaknesses, there will always be critics to complain as to how expensive certain foods are. There is a reasoning that states that people have no compunctions paying millions of dollars for a few strokes of paint on a canvas where one can argue that an acrylic reproduction may look just as nice and cost a miniscule fraction so should there be a distinction between artistic food and quick-service-restaurant fare.
I do know that theoretically, there are several of us who talk of some food that is worth dying for. I do enjoy good food but there are certain limits that I would place on my indulgences.
Recently the BBC Channel 4 program was in a bit of a soup because of angry viewers reacting to the ostentatious displays of wealth. There are people who would pay about 350 British pounds for a cup of civet poo coffee beans called kopi luwak which are considered the ultimate indulgence for people who like coffee. Now I don’t mind someone indulging in their favourite brew but then paying so much for something that dropped out of a wild cat’s bottom is something that I just cannot fathom.
Anyway, I was wondering if there was some way that a multi-billionaire such as me could literally blow up my entire fortune within a day with just food. Although, I might not go through the entire bank balance, I may make a serious dent with the following extremely decadent options:
There are actually several restaurants out there in the world where they hastily assemble five really expensive ingredients on a plate and sell it for the black market price of an O negative kidney. I could opt for the gold flake speckled $1,000 Westin Bagel or the $4,200 Pizza Royale 007 which comes with caviar and cognac soaked lobster. There is a $3,200 gold leaf crusted Samundari Khazana that comes with lobster, caviar and quail eggs or the amazing $1.6 million Strawberry Arnaud dessert that comes with a glittery ring set with a fabulous, flawless pink diamond.
However, the article is about expensive ingredients and not dishes so we march onward. I think I would start with the Almas Caviar which is so sought after that it comes in its very own 24K gold tin. Extracted from the extremely rare Albino Sturgeon that inhabits the rather inhospitable Caspian Sea, the eggs are further aged for twenty years before making their debut on the shelves. The fish is known to live up to a 1,000 years provided it eludes the nets that are dropped to catch it. Judging from the fact that fewer turn up in the nets each year means that the price goes up further and the fish are getting smarter. At $25,000 a can, this is one appetiser that can’t be topped!
Speaking of fish, we could try a slice of freshly caught Bluefin tuna that retails around an impressive $7,000 a kilo which makes it a staggering $700 for a 100 gram appetiser portion.
I was thinking of following that up with a salad made from a $6,500 watermelon called the Densuke Black Watermelon. There are only about thirty of these perfectly round and all black melons that go up on sale each year and most of them end up getting sold at auctions. Alternatively, I could possibly dine on a salad made from the Yubari King melon which is a cantaloupe that sells for a price of $23,000 each. They are much in demand for their perfectly round shape and sweetness. Needless to state, there are not more than a hundred available each year.
Then there is the famous Ayam Cemani chicken which is a rarity in Indonesia and highly prized (around $2,500 each) for being both beautiful and exotic. This chicken is jet black from the feathers to the muscle, meat and internal organs.
Being thirsty by now because of all my exertions over my dining options, I may choose to cool down with a bottle of 1907 Heidsieck which comes for a paltry sum of $275,000 and a killer story. These bottles were part of a cargo of an old shipwreck and only two hundred bottles survived which makes them incredibly rare and ….incredibly expensive.
The ultimate dessert option however has to be the $16,000 pineapple that is grown in….wait for it…the United Kingdom in the Lost Gardens of Heligan! Yep! You heard that right! The UK has been producing a limited amount of these pricy wonders that are grown for two years under piles of manure, hay and gallons of horse urine. Apparently they are so awesome tasting that you can almost ignore the dent in your wallet and the faint scent of horse that permeates the fruit.

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