There’s nothing as universally loved as good food. Nothing. Some people don’t like fancy cars, some don’t care for designer clothes, while others turn their nose up at high-brow art films in favour of hollywood blockbusters with cleavage shots and explosions, and all of that’s perfectly fine. Some people are perfectly content with the standard version.
One of the exceptions to that rule, at least in our opinion, is food. Everyone loves good food! While what makes a particular dish ‘tasty’ is certainly subjective, there’s no doubt that given the choice between good food and ‘meh’ food, everyone will pick the good dish – barring any dietary restrictions, of course. Who in their right mind would choose a bland meal over one that’s savoury, sweet, spicy, or all of the above? Virtually no one. In the culinary world, taste matters.
The frequency of a particular flavour matters almost as much as the flavour itself. If you fall in love with something – say, an Indian restaurant’s excellent butter chicken – you’ll want to go back, and you will. Then maybe you’ll go back again, and again, until eventually that butter chicken isn’t so great anymore. You’ve figured it out, examined it from all angles and isolated and identified the components of the taste. It looses a bit of the charm, even though you recognize that it tastes just as it always did when it first blew your taste buds out of your mouth.
As they say, variety is the spice of life. Variety might as well be the silent spice in cooking anything. A flavour that’s never been tasted before – as long as it’s a good one – will almost always surprise and delight. That’s why chefs in haute cuisine make a habit of using fine and rare ingredients that are difficult to find at your local grocery store. Customers will be thrilled experiencing something they’ve never experienced before, and these 10 food items are some of the rarest on the planet. Some you may have had, most you probably haven’t, but if you ever get the opportunity to sample it you should make it worthwhile. They’re hard to acquire and expensive, so open up wide and let your taste buds do the talking.
This one you’ve probably heard of before. Saffron is an Indian spice that’s praised as one of the finest on Earth. It’s grown and harvested in many different areas all over the world, but its rarity is due in no small part to the great difficulty involved in harvesting it. To successfully produce one pound of saffron, anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 saffron flowers must be grown and meticulously harvested. For those interested, that’s roughly about the size of a football field. A pound of saffron retails anywhere from $500 to $5,000, depending on the quality. If you ever see a dish spiced with saffron in a restaurant, you might as well go for it. It’s not everyday you get to sample its taste.
#9 The Densuke Watermelon
Would you pay $6,000+ for a single watermelon? Probably not, but if you have cash to burn and a serious soft spot for that watery melon-y goodness, maybe you do. The Densuke watermelon is instantly recognizable thanks in large part to its exterior. Solid black with no stripes, the Densuke watermelon doesn’t even look like a watermelon at first glance. They’re grown on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, and only about 65 are grown each year – meaning the list of people who have actually tasted one is quite small.
#8 Yubari Melon
The Japanese have a thing for rare fruit. The Yubari melon resembles a cantaloupe on the outside, but its taste is entirely its own. They’re perfectly round and have a much sweeter taste compared to the standard cantaloupe, but it’s apparently not overpowering. They’re not nearly as expensive as the Densuke Watermelon (they retail for around $150) but they’re reportedly delicious. They’re grown in Yubari, which is also on the island of Hokkaido, and are so sweet thanks to the volcanic ash in the area’s soil.
#7 Matsutake Mushroom
The Matsutake mushroom grows all over the world – including China, Canada, Finland, the United States, and Sweden – but it first came to culinary prominence in Japanese cuisine, where it also grows. The flavour is said to be spicy and meaty, with texture comparable to a portobello mushroom. They are highly sought after in Japanese cuisine, but are notoriously difficult to produce. Matsutake are imported from the rest of the world into Japan where they retail for about $90 per kilogram, but the Matsutake that are produced domestically in Japan can easily sell for upwards of $2,000 per kilogram.
#6 Chocopologie by Knipschildt
Chocopologie by Knipschildt is not your ordinary chocolate. Chocolatier Fred Knipschildt crafted this delicacy using dark chocolate and black truffles – the rarest of fungi. Each chocolate has a truffle centre and is coated in rich, dark chocolate. Knipschildt first started producing them when he moved to the United States in 1996, and has been hard at work crafting them ever since. The handmade chocolate sells for about $2,600 a pound, meaning that it’s a delicacy reserved for only the most ardent of chocolate lovers.
#5 Kobe Beef
Anyone who’s even remotely interested in steak has heard of Kobe beef. Produced in the Hyogo Prefecture region of Japan, the cows that eventually become Kobe beef are carefully monitored and controlled all of their lives. The Wagyu cows that produce Kobe beef live a life of luxury compared to most other domestic cattle. They are fed only the finest grass – in moderation – and even get to sample beer, as it’s said to relax them. They are given daily massages in order to ensure the tenderness of the meat, and generally speaking live the best possible life that a domestic cow can live. All that relaxation and happiness is supposed to produce a delicious, marbled beef that can sell for up to $770 per kilogram.
#4 Almas Caviar
The stereotypical ‘wealthy’ dish is one food item whose reputation is thoroughly deserved. Caviar are fish eggs and, as you can imagine, are relatively hard to produce. The Almas Caviar is the gold standard of all caviars; produced from the eggs of the Beluga Sturgeon fish – an ancient species that’s been around since the dinosaurs – a single pound of it has been known to sell anywhere from $8,400 to $15,500 a pound, depending on quality. They’re so expensive because the Beluga Sturgeon fish takes a long time to mature and produce eggs, normally about 20 years. The Almas Caviar is prepared in Iran and only sold at a single store in London, The Caviar House and Punier. If you want to sample and are willing to pay up, be sure to call now. The waiting list to buy it is approximately 4 years long.
#3 White Truffle
White Truffle, like their cousin the black truffle, is exceedingly rare. They’re mostly found growing naturally in particular regions of Italy, France, and Croatia, but can sometimes be found growing in other areas. They are notoriously difficult to cultivate, and for the most part are found naturally in the wild. The white truffle sells for anywhere from $1,360 to $4,200 per pound, but particularly large truffles can sell for much more. A truffle weighing in at 3.3 lbs sold for $330,000 at an auction, which is a pretty hefty price to pay for what is essentially a mushroom.
#2 Bird’s Nest Soup
This Chinese delicacy is one of the rarest dishes on earth. Known affectionally as the ‘Caviar of the East’, this dish has been served in China for over 400 years. It is made from the nests built by cave swifts, a species of bird. Yes, Bird’s Nest Soup is literally made from a bird’s nest. Naturally you can imagine that acquiring the ingredients for the soup can be…difficult. Especially considering the cave swift is true to its name and builds its nest in caves. The nests are built using the bird’s saliva, which is then reduced with other ingredients into a gelatinous soup. It sells anywhere from $910 to $4,535 per pound.
Yep, no exotic ingredients here, just good ol’ fashioned gold. People love gold so much that over the years we’ve developed an edible version. Although edible, it apparently has a flavourless taste, meaning it adds literally nothing to the dish besides shininess. Nonetheless, some people flock to eat edible gold as a status symbol. It’s usually flaked and added to drinks or as a garnishment to other dishes. Edible gold sells anywhere from $33,000 to $110,000 per kilogram; because nothing says “I eat like a boss” quite like having enough money to eat gold instead of wearing it.