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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Good foods have their price. High quality and exclusive products are by definition in limited supply.
People who want to eat gourmet food need deep pockets. But at what point does exclusivity become decadence? It’s a question that has no simple answer. We’ve described some of the world’s most
expensive foods here. It’s up to each individual to decide whether they would treat themselves to this
delicacy if they could afford it, or whether it’s simply throwing money away.


Truffles grow underground among the roots of trees and usually in symbiosis with particular trees or bushes – oaks, beeches, chestnuts and hazels. No truffles are cheap, but some are startlingly more expensive than others. Black truffles, for example, cost around 1,000 euros a kilo, but that could even be affordable, considering how very little truffle can flavour a dish and how thinly sliced it usually is. White Alba truffles, from the Langhe district of Piedmont, on the other hand sell for up to 9.000 euros a kilo..


Caviar is another sought after delicacy available in different qualities. The three types, Beluga, Ossietra and Sevruga are named after the sturgeon species from which the eggs are taken. Beluga caviar is generally regarded as the finest. Beluga eggs are the biggest of all the types of caviar – individual eggs are around 3.5 millimetres in diameter. At up to 7,000 euros a kilo, it’s also the most expensive. Caviar sturgeons are fished in the Black Sea, the Sea of Asov and the Caspian Sea. But fish stocks are shrinking alarmingly due to overfishing, habitat destruction and environmental pollution. This is driving the prices sky high.

Kopi Luwak

Kopi luwak coffee beans from Indonesia retail at around 700 euros a kilo. Connoisseurs say it’s not only the most expensive, but also the best tasting coffee in the world. The name translates as Civet Cat Coffee – from the Indonesian words kopi for coffee and luwak, the local name for the civet cat. The beans are picked from the faeces of civet cats which have eaten the coffee berries as part of their natural diet. Enzymes in the cats’ digestive tracts ferment the beans, giving the coffee its distinctive flavour.


The cost of the delicate strands of saffron is due to the effort involved in harvesting them. To produce a kilo of pure saffron, 150,000 to 200,000 flowers are picked carefully by hand. Then the golden stamens are plucked out of each flower and dried, because it’s these sweetly aromatic threads that carry the intense flavour of saffron. Worldwide Iran is by far the biggest saffron producer. One gram of pure saffron costs around 14 euros.



Jamón Ibérico

These hams are probably the most expensive in the world. They’re a speciality of the Spanish village of La Alberca. The black pigs run wild in the holm oak woods feeding on the acorns, especially in the last three months before slaughter. The fresh hams are salted for up to twelve days, followed by two months in a cold room at exactly five degrees. After that they cure for a year in a drying chamber. Because the pigs are more closely related to wild boars than domestic pigs, they can’t be made to breed like domestic pigs. And like venison and other game meats, their flesh has a high content of unsaturated fatty acids. The price of this outstanding quality is very high – a kilo costs up to 500 euros.

Especially in Asia, some consumers are prepared to pay astronomical prices for certain foodstuffs. In an auction in the world’s biggest fish market Tsukiji in Tokyo a single blue-fin tuna fetched the record sum of 279,000 euros. It makes the cost of Kobe beef – at 600 euros a kilo – seem ridiculously low.

Maybe the most prestigious of all are the three bottles of Château Lafite-Rothschild from 1869, which were sold at auction in 2010, for over 160,000 euros each. But who knows whether the bottles will ever be opened and the wine drunk. So maybe it doesn’t belong in our list of luxury foodstuffs at all.
Author: Jackomo – the critic at