Eight of the World’s Most Expensive Ingredients

Published in Gourmet Live 04.11.12
There’s more to high-end edibles than lobster and foie gras: See what exorbitant ingredients Elizabeth Gunnison unearthed, and learn what’s behind the luxury pricing
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Most Expensive Fungus: White Truffles

What: The white truffle is found almost exclusively in the forests of northern Italy between the months of September and December. Its unique flavor—nutty, savory, and sweet—is commonly sampled in shavings atop dishes heavy on eggs, butter, and cheese, such as fresh pasta, fonduta (a mixture of melted cheese and wine), or a decadent scrambled-egg breakfast.

How Much: White truffles retail for $7 to $11 per gram, or $3,000 to $5,000 per pound. Prices can be as high as $90 for a standard 8-gram portion, with an additional premium for a particularly large specimen.

Why Pay More: No one has yet succeeded at cultivating white truffles, so the supply is extremely limited. The only way to source them is to forage within their limited natural habitat with the help of specially trained pigs and dogs.


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Elizabeth Gunnison is a freelance writer based in New York. She currently serves as the online food correspondent for Esquire.com and contributes to such outlets as The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Esquire, and BonAppetit.com.

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