Sunday, January 5, 2014

10 Luxury Foods Around The World

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While other people are already happy and satisfied after a slice of pizza, a bar of chocolate, or a bowl of pasta, other people are more into gourmet food – Beluga caviar, foie gras, saffron spice, white truffle, pufferfish, among others. These foods are considered luxurious because of their rarity, the difficulty in their cultivating process, the skills needed for their preparation, and, of course, because of their exorbitant prices. Did you know that a kilogram of Beluga Caviar costs at least $5,000? Or that a White Alba was once sold for more than $160,000 for a mere 1.51 kilograms? Discover the foods for the elite in this list of 10 Luxury Foods Around the World!

10- Jamon Iberico de bellota
Locally known as the Jamon Iberico de bellota, which means "Iberian Acorn-fed Ham", this luxurious food is sold for about $96 per pound! What makes this meat special is that because the black Iberian pigs, which were raised in a small area along the Spanish-Portugese border, were fed nothing but acorns, the meat retains its earthiness. Then, the hams are salted for two weeks before being cured for another three years! Customarily, it is served by cutting narrow pieces of meat more thinly than bacon.

9- Black Watermelon
Although it is very unusual to consider a watermelon as a luxury food, one variety of this fruit - the Black Watermelon - is regarded as one. Sought after for its rarity, this type of watermelon is grown only in the small island of Hokkaido in Japan. It comes from the Densuke variety, which is known for its crispness and incredible sweetness. This one is very rare because a typical harvest will only produce a few dozen pieces. For a 17-pound black watermelon, it can cost you about $6,100!

8- Yubari King Melon
Another fruit known as a luxury food is the Yubari King Melon, which is coveted for its incomparable sweetness and for its proportion. Did you know that there were actual auctions held just to take home this orange-fleshed fruit? In 2008, over 100 pieces of this melon was put into auction. When the most perfect piece was finally put on sale, a businesswomen who owns a souvenir shop and a seafood restaurant bought it for almost $23,000!

7- Fugu
One of the most popular and expensive dish in Japan is the Fugu Fugu or the pufferfish. What makes this one special is the fact that its preparation can cost a chef's life! Pufferfish contains poisonous chemicals that is so strong that one pinhead can already put an adult male down. And this is not new in Japan because there are numerous reported cases of death due to the incorrect preparation of this fish. In order to master the skill of preparing pufferfish, Japanese chefs have to undergo training and certification first.

6- Bird's Nest
One of the most unique luxury food in the world is the Bird's nest, produced by a variety of birds coming from the Swifts. The most common one is the Cave Swifts, which create their nests by spitting a chemical compound known to harden in the air. This type of delicacy is commonly found in Chinese dishes, such as the bird's nest soup or some variety of sweets like the Bird's nest and Almond pudding. When used in soups, the hard nests usually come off in an almost gelatinous texture.

5- Ass Cheese
Do not let its name deceive you because this cheese is meant for the elites! Known as one of the most delicious cheeses in the world, the Ass cheese is made from the the milk of Balkan asses around the Zasavica River in western Serbia. In order to churn out one kilogram of this cheese, makers have to use at least 25 liters of the donkey's milk and a pound of this smoked cheese is sold for $700! It is characterized as having a nutty and sweet taste with a pang of saltiness like that of a Parmesan cheese.

4- Foie Gras
Commonly stuffed in many luxurious and expensive burgers, the foie gras may be considered as the second luxury food in the western cuisine (next to caviar!). The foie grass is made either out of a duck's liver or a geese's. Unlike other livers, the foie gras is made from large livers (double the size of a normal liver) containing high content of fat, which results to a very smooth texture similar to a butter. It has a very pure earthy flavor and can be served raw, while others prefer to cook or sear it to give its flavor added punch.

3- White Truffle
Truffles come from the underground ascomycetes family or tubers. Although it has a lot of variety, the white truffles are more expensive, particularly the Italian White Alba which is was once sold for more than $160,000 for a mere 1.51 kilograms! This luxury food is marketed for a whopping price because of its very difficult cultivation process. It is commonly served in many luxurious food as thin slices on top of other food or as shaved garnishment, while there are also available truffle-oils.

2- Saffron
Considered as the most expensive spice in the world, you will have to spend at least $2,000 for a pound of Saffron - and that depends on the season! This spice is made from the three stigmas harvested from the crocus flower. The reason for its exorbitant price is because the stigmas have to be hand-picked, making the harvesting process really difficult, and a single ounce of Saffron takes more than thousands of flowers to make. Chefs all over the world use this spice for coloring and flavoring their creations.

1- Beluga Caviar
Known as the most luxurious food in the world, Caviar or fish eggs cost for more than $5,000 per kilogram! Among its may varieties, the most expensive and popular is the Beluga Caviar, which comes from the Beluga Sturgeon which is commonly found in the waters of Caspian sea. This fish takes more than two decades to mature and to be ready for harvest. The fish roe taken from them ranges from purplish to black, wherein the palest in color is considered more expensive than darker ones. It is usually served alone or as toppings to toasts.


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