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Eating Wealthy: Some Of The World's Most Expensive Foods

Prime Veal with Risotto, Tartufo Nero (Black Truffle), Zucchini Grill, Porcini and Dried Tomato

Food has served as a status symbol for different societies throughout history. In the past, only the wealthiest of people could afford any type of meats or fruits, while the lower classes survived on root vegetables, bread and water.

Here are some of the foods that can technically be enjoyed by anyone who feels like saving up for them, but are perhaps best enjoyed by those who can spare the money.

Truffles And Their Byproducts

Truffles are a type of fungus found only in certain areas across Europe. They grow just below the earth’s surface in heavily wooded areas. A large part of their expense is that the only means of locating them is through a pig or dog’s refined sense of smell.

Although pigs were used in the past, modern producers prefer dogs, because pigs have a tendency to eat the truffles before the farmer has a chance to harvest them. The most popular byproduct of truffles are the various cooking oils they are infused into, which adds the vibrant flavor of the truffle to the dish, without overpowering it. In one instance, a casino owner paid nearly $330,000 for a truffle weighing more than three pounds.

Wagyu Steak

Cut from the Wagyu cattle, this variety of Kobe steak is the most expensive in the world, and has to be imported from Japan. It is rarely served in the United States, not only because of its price, but also because of the high fat content that creates the marbling in the meat.

This variation of Kobe cattle is fed only Japanese beer, and is massaged by hand on a daily basis to ensure even fat distribution through the steaks before slaughter, which contributes to its high price. The last recorded serving of Wagyu steak in a public setting was to a private party in New York City. The bill for the beef alone totaled $2,800.

Saffron

Although available in many grocery stores for a “reasonable” price measured in grams or miniscule fractions of an ounce, (Williams Sonoma, for example, sells 1 gram of Spanish saffron for $18.95); when calculated at the per pound rate (453.6g/pound), saffron is more valuable than most any food product, at $8595.72 per pound! 

The high cost is attributable to the light weight of the product (a thread of saffron is actually the stigma from a crocus), and the extreme amount of labor that goes into harvesting them; to collect one pound of this spice, harvesters must gather about 225,000 stigmas.

Caviar

Most people think of caviar as a luxury food, but different grades make these crunchy little fish eggs available for anyone looking for a pricey holiday splurge. 

However, a 500 gram jar of some higher end caviars, like that offered by Almas, can come in at more than $1,200; an unlikely purchase for even the best of occasions for most of us.

Special Meals

Sometimes restaurants offer special costly meals to attract high rollers who are looking for something unique. Examples include a $1,000 bagel (with white truffle cream cheese and gold flakes), or the $295 burger made of—you guessed it—Wagyu beef marinated in white truffle butter, and topped with black truffle shavings.

Unless you are wealthy or celebrating a special occasion, some of these foods are probably best untasted.