If you're thinking about preparing your own gourmet dinner, then here's a list of luxury food items that you can consider adding. Whether it's an appetiser, main dish, side dish, dessert or beverage, these fine ingredients will definitely add value to your meal, in more ways than one.
Vanilla is one of the most expensive spices at roughly $245 per kilogram. Although it isn't as rare as it used to be back in the 1800s, it requires quite a lengthy period for ageing and fermentation to achieve its unique flavour. Back in the day, only royals and the upper classes can enjoy dishes flavoured with vanilla.
The world's most expensive spice, estimated at $1,500 per pound, is derived from the flowering plant, crocus. Crocuses are found mainly in India, Iran, Greece and Spain. Saffron are the threads of the crocuses that are usually meticulously handpicked and dried. It has an aromatic scent that is perfect for Persian, Arab and European cuisines.
Selling at around $14,200 per kilogram, the white truffle is a rare mushroom found only in certain areas of Italy. Around the month of October, hunters set out with their pigs and dogs to find these precious fungi in the regions of Alba, Asti, Montferrat and Langhe. White truffle shavings are mostly eaten raw and used as luxury dish toppings. It is also a famous ingredient in making cheese fondue.
Matsutake, a pine mushroom that grows on the forest floors in some regions in Europe, North America and Asia, is highly valued for its rare availability. The Japanese matsutake can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 per kilogram, depending on quality. The stalk of this delicious-tasting, spicy mushroom has a size similar to that of a sugar cane.
Beluga caviar comes from the eggs of the beluga sturgeon that is found only in the Caspian Sea, Black Sea and Adriatic Sea. A kilogram is priced at $7,000 to $10,000. The sturgeon is anendangered species, which causes the limited production and high price. Beluga caviar is usually enjoyed as an appetiser.
If you're thinking of making gourmet coffee, try the one that's made from the droppings of wild civet. That's right, animal droppings. And it costs well around $100 to $700 per kilogram. The fermentation of the beans occurs inside the digestive tract of the wild civet, which is said to improve its quality and part of the reason why they are considered luxury ingredients.
Made from the Balkan donkeys' milk, pule cheese is the world's most expensive cheese, with an average price of $600 per pound. One kilogram of pule cheese requires 25 litres of donkey's milk. But this isn't the only reason why it is pricey – the cheese has a very rich taste.
Mostly used as a garnish, edible gold adds luxury to your dinner, quite literally. 22-carat to 24-carat gold that is labelled as edible are added to main dishes and desserts simply as a décor, as it is flavourless. Sold in flakes and sheets, its estimated value is $15,000 per pound.