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If you’re familiar with saffron – also known as the red spice – you’ll know it’s one of the most expensive ingredients in the world.
In fact, every gram of this product is more expensive than one gram of gold.
But it is not the only culinary product with astronomical prices.
We tell you what they are and what makes them so expensive.
If your rice looks bright yellow it may have been cooked with saffron.
This spice, also called ” red gold “, is the stigma or intense crimson thread that comes out of a flower known as crocus and is used to color foods.
Gram per gram, it is much more expensive than gold. Why?
The reason is simple.
The crocus only blooms for a week or two a year, in the fall. In addition, sowing it requires intense work and its collection can only be done manually.
But above all, this little flower only produces three stigmas, which means that you need a field the size of a soccer field planted with crocus to pick up a kilo of saffron.
And to fill a football field 300,000 flowers are needed.
Caviar is called the set of sturgeon eggs and is considered one of the finest delights on the planet.
But, beyond that it is very difficult to handle and pack, it is very rare to find eggs from this family of fish called acipenseriformes.
The most famous caviar comes from the beluga , a fish found only in the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.
As it is in danger of extinction, very few of its eggs can be sold legally.
The sturgeon takes two years to reach maturity and start producing caviar. The unfortunate thing is that you need to kill the fish to be able to extract its eggs.
But even more rare is the caviar of the albino sturgeon, which is almost extinct in its natural environment.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the most expensive caviar was a 100-year-old caviar from a beluga albino sturgeon , for which about US $ 34,500 per kilo was paid.
Now considered a luxury, oysters were not always a food for the well off.
At the beginning of the 19th century, oysters were as cheap as fried potatoes today and were an important source of food for all social classes in coastal communities.
A powerful ingredient that was used to flavor meat pies.
But pollution and uncontrolled fishing have had a catastrophic effect on the oyster population, which has greatly increased its value.
Prices vary around the world, but a dozen of these molluscs in a London restaurant can cost about US $ 65.
However, many people are happy to eat one or two. Although there are those who believe they have aphrodisiac qualities and eat a little more.
Just to be clear: be careful what you eat.
4. White truffle
The prized white truffle is one of the rarest and most difficult to find mushrooms in the world.
It only grows in the Piedmont region, in northern Italy, at the roots of certain trees and is much scarcer than other types of truffles.
To add to its appeal, the white variety has a particular intensity.
In addition, it can not be cultivated, it only grows in the wild and finding it requires a careful search.
The unpredictable nature of its collection, in addition to the limited number of people who take care of it, is what determines its high price.
The record sum paid for a single truffle was made by the owner of the Macau casino, Stanley Ho, in 2007.
Ho delivered $ 330,000 for one of the largest white truffles ever found, weighing 1.5 kilos.
An extraordinary price for a fungus that hides under the ground.
5. Iberian ham
The Iberian is a type of ham from the pig of this breed, classified in the categories of “acorn” and “bait”.
Acorn-fed Iberian ham, the highest level, is produced from pigs reared in a specific forest region in the south of Spain and Portugal called dehesa.
Here, the animals live freely and feed naturally, but they must eat only acorns during their last months of life so that their ham receives the official denomination.
In fact, the Iberian classification is very strict: acorn ham with black labeling is considered the best when produced from 100% Iberian pigs . It is the popularly known as “pata negra”.
In addition to this requirement, the time needed for this ham to heal is usually between 36 and 48 months, in very special environmental conditions.
According to the Guinness book, the most expensive ham leg sold so far has been a “spotted Jabugo” that was sold for US $ 4,080 .
But when it comes to criticizing its price, you have to think that the pigs are raised for three years and then you have to wait almost four to get a ham of this quality.
6. Wagyu meat
Wagyu can be translated literally as ” Japanese meat” and can come from the four breeds of cows found in that Asian country.
The meat looks like marble because it has fat, which is liquefied during the cooking process so that it feels tender, moist and almost melts once in the mouth.
Some of his fans say that it melts like a soft piece of fish.
The high price comes from the way in which these animals are raised: to have the Wagyu brand , the cows have to grow and feed according to strict instructions, for which the calves have to receive a special diet that guarantees the structure marmolada by which this meat is known.
Kobe meat, one of the most expensive varieties, sells for about US $ 640 per kilo in Japan.
7. Kopi Luwak
Yes, it is a drink, but the kilo of this type of coffee sells for US $ 700 , so it deserves to be on this list.
Kopi luwak, or civet coffee, is in fact a coffee bean that has been eaten, digested and defecated by an animal known as the civet cat.
It’s true, it does not sound very appetizing.
Some believe that the flavor of this coffee is potentiated by the stomach’s stomach acid, as if the digestion -which is not complete- and the fermentation that takes place afterwards, would give that ” I do not know what ” to the grain.
However, other critics agree that it is just a marketing gimmick and that the quality is not as good.
And, of course, the ambition has made the civets have them in locked cages and dedicated to consuming coffee beans.
8. Foie gras
Foie gras is an expensive pâté, made from goose or duck liver that has been primed to be forcefully enlarged to 10 times its natural size.
As a result, the taste is rich, buttery and delicate.
The fans gladly pay the high price for this delicacy. But the really high cost is for the birds.
To obtain the foie gras, the birds are fed with corn in a forced way, by means of tubes.
This practice dates almost from the year 2,500 BC, when the Egyptians managed to develop the technique to see that the flavor of the meat of the birds improved ostensibly if they were fed artificially.
These days, many countries have laws against the production and import of foie gras, as for example in states of the United States. But it is still quite popular in other parts of the planet, such as France and Spain.