Austerity? What austerity? A London chef is set to prepare a Christmas Day dinner for four that will give a new meaning to the term ‘holiday indulgence.’ The event is being put together by “luxury products & experiences” website VeryFirstTo.com, and, if it sells, will set the buyer back an eye-popping $200,450.
(LIST: Top 10 Food Trends of 2012)
The sumptuous feast will be prepared in the lucky buyer’s home by Ben Spalding, 25-year-old chef at John Salt, the new brick-licking hotspot in London’s upscale Islington district. Before the meal gets under way (see the full menu below), patrons will start with an aperitif of 1907 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, valued at $59,500 a bottle, served in diamond-studded flutes. (NewsFeed certainly hopes that you get to keep the glasses.)
The opening course is bird’s nest and Almas caviar, made with a 150-year-old balsamic vinegar, and Pata Negra Ibérico jamón (that’s Spanish ham, to you and me). They then get the world’s most expensive melon, the Yubari King, which hails from China and is prepared with whole white truffle and saffron.
But these are the mere opening acts to the meal’s pièces de résistance: Dodine of rare-breed turkey with Wagyu beef fillet and heart, wrapped in 50-carat gold leaf and sprinkled with Akbari Pistachios — a dish that would reportedly cost $8,000 on its own. Dessert is a rather simple-sounding Densuke watermelon from Hokkaido, Japan (an island that only produces 10,000 melons a year) but the fact that you get to eat it off a gold, Ugandan vanilla plate will make it reassuringly ridiculous.
The coffee course — or maybe it’s the desert? — is made with Kopi Luwak coffee beans, the most expensive on earth, which are eaten and excreted by Vietnamese civet cats before roasting. (We’re not making it up: we tried it once for work.)
(VIDEO: The 50 Pound Cup of Coffee)
Spalding says he is donating 80% of his fee to the charities Cancer Research U.K. and Hospitality Action. ”At least I am trying to make a difference,” he tweeted. ”It may not even sell. If that is the case, I will spend the day with my young family and two babies. But at least I tried.”
If you don’t have the budget for Spalding’s dinner, another option is available for a mere $5,600. Ben Tish, executive chef of the Salt Yard Group of restaurants, has created the world’s priciest mince pie, which is a Christmas treat the Brits are particularly partial to. But instead of the traditional ingredients – suet and sticky fruits wrapped in pastry – Tish uses foie gras, white truffle, gold leaf and a rare cognac costing almost $1,300 a measure. “Mince pies are ubiquitous at Christmas but there’s generally a very low standard of quality,” said Tish. We’re betting this redresses the balance.
(PHOTOS: Those Things Money Can Buy)
Christmas Dinner Menu:
Screener: Diva Vodka & Piper Heidsieck 1907
Bird’s Nest & Almas Caviar, 150-year-old balsamic & Pata Negra Iberico jambon
1949 Cheval Blanc
Whole White Alba Truffle poached in poulet de bresse juice & Sargol saffron stock, Yubari king Melon
1988 Corton-Charlemagne, Coche-Dury
Dodine of rare-breed turkey with Wagyu beef fillet & heart, wrapped in 50 carat gold leaf, Perigord truffles and Akbari pistachios
1959 La Tache
Whipped Kopi Luwak & Amedei premium chocolate with rare Densuke watermelon eaten off a gold Ugandan vanilla plate
1976 Chateau d’Yquem