You are what you eat, as the saying goes. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It can be a sensual and luxury
experience, and it can transport you from the humdrum to the exquisite. It is the quality of luxury
ingredients that matter, not just whether or not they are expensive. Foods that are difficult to harvest and produce, or that are indigenous to only one part of the world can, however, be costly. Luxury
foodstuffs run the gamut from spices, seafood, and coffee, to nuts, beef, and mushrooms.
Pound for pound, saffron is the most expensive luxury
food in the world, weighing in from $1,100 to $11,000 per kilogram. This spice is derived from the dried stigma of the purple saffron crocus, and half a kilogram of saffron requires a harvest of up to 75,000 flowers – about the size of a football field. This expensive spice is used in Persian, Arab, European and Indian dishes.
Cost aside, the food with the most luxurious connotations has to be caviar. Most diners are familiar with the shiny black eggs; however the price of this common roe is low compared to the truly high end luxury
Almas beluga caviar. "Almas" is the Russian word for diamond, which suits this golden-white caviar. It comes from sturgeon that is between 80 to 100 years old. This expensive food will set you back about $47,500 for a kilogram and is sold exclusively at the Caviar House & Prunier in London. Another expensive luxury
food is the white truffle, a mushroom which grows wild in the Piedmont region of Italy. It grows symbiotically, and the harvest usually occurs in October and November. Traditionally, truffle hogs were used to find these for the truffle hunters, but most hunters use dogs as the canines are better trained and refrain from eating the mushroom when they find it. The luxury
white truffle sells for between $1,000 to $2,500 per kilogram and is used in dishes to add a dash of strong flavour. Chefs use it sparingly, though, and this expensive luxury
food graces only the most luxurious of meals.
The most expensive luxury
beef comes from Japan, where Wagyu cows are subjected to an array of treatments like massages, daily grooming and a diet of sake mash and organic grain resulting in the renowned type of meat known as Kobe beef. This beef is a luxury
that only a few can afford, with hefty price tags upwards of $550 per kilogram. The reason for this is the texture of the meat. More akin to foie gras than beef, Kobe is highly marbled, with a tender, sweet flavour. A filet mignon of this beef is juicy, buttery and melts in your mouth – a true luxury
Coffee aficionados have long known about "kopi luwak," the creme de la creme of coffees. The world’s most
coffee is also known as civet coffee and retails from $250 to $1,300 per kilogram. Produced in Indonesia, then digested and processed by the wild civet, this gourmet coffee has a complex and unique flavour. Worldwide supply is limited to about 450 kilograms per year, which keeps this luxury
drink rare and expensive.