Let’s take a look at the 10 most expensive ingredients in the world. The list includes caviar, gold and herbs.
The most expensive caviar in the world comes from an albino sturgeon. This is known as Almas Caviar (which translates to “diamonds” in Russian), and it has a price tag of $25,000 per kilogram (2 pounds). The reason why this particular type of caviar is so expensive has to do with what it represents: wealth. To own a tin or two means that you have a lot more money than most people do, as well as access to exclusive networks and markets where you can buy these things.
Gold leaf is used in some traditional Chinese medicine remedies and even Ayurvedic medicine as a digestive aid or an ingredient in herbal infusions. The leaf is also often used by chefs as an elegant garnish on dishes such as soufflés and mousses.
The Yarsa Gunbu fungus is a parasite that grows in the larvae of ghost moths, or caterpillar fungus. It has been used in traditional medicine for over one thousand years by Tibetian and Nepalese peoples, who believe it aids in digestion, increases male virility, and boosts the immune system. The fungus was once relatively inexpensive; however, it can now sell for up to $8 per gram due to over-harvesting. This means that only the very wealthy have access to this rare ingredient.
Since the melons are grown in such limited quantities and are so high in demand, your best bet for getting your hands on one (should you have $27,000 to spare) is to get it from a specialty store or directly from the growers.
These melons aren’t just expensive because they taste good—they’re also a fabulous gift! If you can afford to give someone a $27,000 melon, go right ahead (and please invite me when they open it).
According to people who have tasted the elusive fruit, they taste just as sweet as any other melon. So what makes these special enough that investors spend millions of dollars on them? Well, there are only around 100 Yubari king melons sold every year. They’re grown at an elevation of about 800 meters above sea level by farmers dedicated to providing only the best of their crop for sale each year.
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”. It takes 150 flowers to produce 1 gram of saffron, and that is why it is considered to be the world’s most expensive spice.
In what is arguably the pinnacle of Japanese agricultural technology, Ruby Roman grapes are grown in complicated climate-controlled greenhouses. The grapes can’t be found anywhere else in the world and are only available for about a month each year. While it should go without saying that these grapes are reserved mostly for the richest members of society (the average person in Japan probably won’t be dining on these anytime soon).
Red Swiftlet nests, more commonly known as red bird’s nests, are the most expensive type of bird’s nest in the world. Unlike other types of bird’s nests, they are produced by swiftlets in the caves of Southeast Asia. These swiftlets build their nests from their saliva, which is a solidified mucus secretion. The carotene contained within the swiftlet’s diet is responsible for giving these edible bird’s nests their reddish hue.
Red Swiftlet bird’s nests are high in calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus and contain many health benefits such as anti-aging properties and boosting the immune system. They can be prepared in a similar fashion to other edible bird’s nest dishes with recipes including white fungus soups and banana soups with honey or sweetened rock sugar syrup.
The high price tag on beluga caviar does not just come from its rarity; it also comes from the way it’s prepared. The eggs are larger than those from other types of sturgeon, so they take longer to mature. This means that once they’re ready to harvest, they can fetch a high price at market.
While there are other variants that are very expensive (like Almas), beluga remains one of the most famous and sought after gourmet foods worldwide.
With only a few hundred jars produced each year, this honey is so rare that the average person probably won’t ever get to try it. A prized ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine and various beauty products, Peri Bali honey is produced by the black bee, a stingless species of bee that lives in tropical forests. The bees are indigenous only to the rainforests of Malaysia and Indonesia, making their habitat suitable for producing this extremely expensive delicacy. Popularly used for its medicinal properties for treating skin problems like psoriasis, this honey is also considered a superfood due to its high nutritional value.
The alba white truffle is a rare and expensive fungus that’s found in northern Italy. While it may look like nothing more than a rough-textured potato, this mushroom can fetch over $3,000 per pound. Its rarity comes from its inability to be farmed; the alba white truffle grows naturally only in certain areas of Piedmont, Italy, making it hard to acquire. Additionally, most of the world’s supply is eaten in Italy (which isn’t shocking considering how delicious Italian food is).