Meals for Millionaires: ten of the most expensive ingredients from around the world
We all enjoy a luxury meal now and again – whether it’s a trip to a fancy restaurant on holiday, a celebration dinner for a birthday or anniversary, or splashing out on ingredients to treat our loved ones at home. However, even if you did come across the following gourmet items, you’d probably be hard pressed to shell out for them. These ten ingredients are among the most expensive in the world – but if they take your fancy, you might need to cross your fingers the next time you play some lottery games in order to be able to afford them!
Yubari king melon
The Yubari melon is only grown in the Japanese district of Yubari, and it looks similar to your standard orange-fleshed cantaloupe melon. However, experts say it has a crisper, sweeter taste – and it should do for around £30 at the cheapest! The finest Yubari King melons have even been auctioned as a matching pair for almost £16,000, showing just how much of a delicacy the fruit is in its most premium form.
Last year a sushi restaurant owner made a record breaking £1.09million bid on a 222kg fish at the regular fish markets in Tokyo. Kiyoshi Kimura made the extraordinary purchase in order to create sushi and sashimi from the fish’s fatty flesh, a delicacy in Japan. However, this year’s auctions have shown the cost of a similar sized fish to drop significantly – but still remaining in the tens of thousands of pounds, so not quite a budget dish!
Wagyu beef is known for its rich marbling of fat throughout the meat, created as a result of massaging the animals or adding beer to their food. This luxury treatment for the cow is reflected in the luxury price tag – a wagyu steak costs over double that of a premium fillet steak, coming it at around £150 for a kilo of the meat in Japan.
Blowfish, also known as fugu, is a delicacy in Japan. The meat of the fish is often served as sashimi or as part of a sushi dish. A meal containing blowfish will cost usually £30 at a minimum, and some restaurants offer a banquet of blowfish dishes, costing from around £80 per diner.
Much like the Yubari melon, Densuke watermelons can only be grown in a specific area – on the island of Hokkaido. The black melons are meant to be sweeter than your average striped watermelon, and have fetched almost £2000 in auction – and that’s just for one of them!
The world’s most expensive spice requires a significant amount of work – which is one of the reasons it’s such a pricy ingredient. More than 75,000 crocus flowers need to be harvested to create one pound of the delicate saffron strands, which cost up to £1,800 per kilogram. Luckily, when used in cooking, hardly any of the spice needs to be used before a dish takes on its unique flavour and reddish colour.
Usually served in a soup as part of Chinese celebration feasts, shark fin is another ingredient that demands a high price. In high-quality restaurants in China, a single bowl of shark fin soup can even sell for over £60.
This rare type of fungi was nearly wiped out due to an infestation of insects in Japan that attack the tree at which matsuktake mushrooms grow at the base. As the trees died out, so did the mushrooms – almost entirely. This huge decrease in production and harvest of the specific type of mushroom has meant those that can still be collected are prized in Japan, with a pound selling between £600 and £1200.
Alba white truffle
Truffles are famous for being luxurious ingredients, and the Alba White variety is one of the most expensive. Found in specific locations in Italy, Croatia, Slovenia and France, the Italian versions are supposed to be the best. As such, when a 1.5kg truffle was found near Pisa in Italy, a casino owner paid a record-breaking price of £165,000 at auction to be able to take the specimen home.
Another favourite of the rich and famous, caviar is fish roe – and in the case of Beluga caviar, eggs of the beluga sturgeon fish. This type of caviar is the most expensive you can buy, with prices ranging from around £120 to £180 for an ounce.