Most people don't mind paying for an expensive perfectly prepared steak or gourmet lobster dinner, but how about an $11,000 bunch of grapes--or just one, for $450?
It isn’t always about luxury dishes--it’s luxury ingredients, and the trick in making them “luxurious” can either be found in their natural rarity or their manipulated rarity.
They might be rare truffles that are very hard to come by, or they might be a … bunch of grapes whose growers purposefully grow a few to keep the prices astronomical. The wealthy eat it up, especially at a time when the game is on to find more places to spend their fortunes.
Here is our Top 10 list of natures over-the-top bounty:
#1 Ruby Roman Grapes
A bunch of 24 Ruby Roman grapes were sold for $11,000 at a Japanese auction on Tuesday, which means that a single grape of ping-pong-ball size from the bunch cost about $450 dollars.
The price reflects that fact that the “dream grape” was cultivated for 14 years before first hitting the market in 2008.
On Tuesday, the prized bunch was scooped up by the manager of a hotel chain in Japan, who is well aware that the growers of the grapes keep demand high by maintaining extreme exclusivity. In other words, they only sell a handful on purpose.
#2 Kopi Luwak coffee
This is one of the most expensive coffees in the world, ranging between $35 and $100 a cup, or about $100 to $600 a pound. It’s a lot to pay for something that comes out of an animal’s behind.
It comes from Indonesia, but its more specific origins are rather more dubious. It’s made from coffee cherries that have been eaten, digested, and defecated by cat-like animals known as an Asian palm civet. In the West, it's called "cat poop coffee”.
#3 Moose Cheese
This is about as rare as it gets because there are only three moose cows in the world who produce it, and they live on a farm in Sweden.
This creamy and slightly acidic delicacy sells for around $500 per pound.
Why is it so rare? Because moose cows only lactate May through September and require extreme handling care during the milking process. If they start feeling stressed out, they dry up, and the breed is said to be particularly edgy.
Each moose produces about 1.3 gallons of milk per day, which means that the farm can make only 660 pounds of cheese each year.
#4 White Truffles
It’s a strong-smelling underground fungi found around oak trees in Italy and France by special hunters and trained dogs (sometimes pigs) sniffing them out.
If you’ve got some in your spice cupboard, changes are it isn’t real. The same is true if you’re eating a dish that claims to be saffron-spiced in a restaurant.
This precious spice has been used in Moorish, Asian and Mediterranean cuisines for centuries, but today it goes for up to $500 per oz. (And it could start getting even more expensive).
Some 90 percent of Saffron is grown in Iran and it blooms for only 7 days per year in the fall season. It gets even more complicated when you consider that it comes from stigma of a certain type of crocus with only three threads per flower and it must be harvested by hand only in the morning, because the afternoon sun will cause the delicate threads to burn.
#6 Bird’s Nest Soup
Bird's nest soup has been a Chinese delicacy for the past 400 years.
Sounds a bit disgusting, but it comes from the next of the swiftlet bird and costs $2,500 to $10,000 per kg. It sounds even more disgusting when you learn that the nests are made out of dried and hardened bird saliva. Yum.
A single bowl of soup will cost you from $30 to $100.
The timing is critical: The collectors of these nests must collect it after one nest of eggs is born but before the second is laid.
#7 Real Madagascar Vanilla
Priced at $4,000 per pound, vanilla is the second most-sought-after spice in the world. Similar to saffron, imitation is generally the name of this game.
Vanilla can’t be farmed in large quantities because it demands specific growing conditions. Its flowers bloom for only a couple of hours once a year, and the pods must be soaked in alcohol for two years before getting its special aroma.
The island of Madagascar is the world’s largest producer. And the price means there’s also a lot of thievery going on, and a huge black market for vanilla.
#8 Yubari King Melon
Another outrageously expensive fruit if the Yubari King Melon, also from Japan.
A pair of Yubari King melons were sold for just over $29,000 at an auction in the city of Sapporo, putting them on top of the list of the most expensive fruits in the world. Not all Yubari King Melons go for this crazy price--that depends on the auction demand.
#9 Almas Caviar
No expensive food story is complete without caviar.
One of the most expensive is Almas caviar, which originates from a rare and very old Iranian albino Beluga sturgeon swimming in the southern Caspian Sea.
It’s super-rare and doesn’t look like other inky black caviars. This one looks like tiny pearls, and is price with that in mind: It sells for $34,500 per kg.
#10 Japanese Wagyu Steaks
There’s nothing like steak from a cow that is continuously massaged before death.
This beef comes from cows fed on corn and soya beans, and topped off with bottled beer and spa treatments. That’s the secret for Japanese breeders who are getting about $600 a kilo for their beef that is famous for its buttery texture.
By Fred Dunkley for Safehaven.com