The world’s priciest foods
JamÃ³n ibÃ©rico de bellota, newly legal for import (at $180 per pound), barely cracks the top five on the pricey foods scale. We checked in with gourmet retailers for the rundown on the world’s most expensive culinary indulgences.
1.Edible gold leaf
Estimated price per pound: $15,000
Like calcium and iron, gold is a mineral that’s safe to eat, although it’s not an essential part of the human diet. It may be pricey by the pound, but a small shaker of 23K gold sprinkles (80 mg) costs only $30 at Fancy Flours in Bozeman, Mont. The store also carries flakes of gold leaf called “petals” – $45 for 150 milligrams – and packs of 25 small sheets of gold leaf for $75.
Store owner Nancy Quist says all three versions sell exceptionally well: Bakers and bartenders use the precious metal to make dazzling treats for holidays and other special occasions. An opera cake, for example, is a traditional layered sponge cake blanketed in chocolate ganache and adorned with crumbled pieces of gold. For elaborate parties, people add gold sprinkles to glasses of Champagne or signature martinis. One customer even used gold leaf to cover an entire Christmas turkey.
“Gold is a very over-the-top decoration,” Quist says. “It’s insanely popular around the Oscars – people use it for drinks and to make Oscar-shaped cookies.”
Estimated price per pound: $6,000 and up
Sensual and mysterious, truffles were thought to be an aphrodisiac by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Their high price is due to their unpredictable growth habits: No one has been able to domesticate them, relying instead on trained dogs and pigs to sniff them out. The mushrooms grow underground near the roots of oak trees. Truffle hunters, known as truffeculteurs, work alone; their proven locations are closely guarded secrets.
White winter truffles, also called Alba truffles after their region of origin, are the priciest, commanding $6,000 to $10,000 per pound (prices vary year-to-year based on availability and quality). Less expensive truffles include white summer truffles and black winter and summer truffles.
Marky’s, a gourmet market in Miami, sells fresh truffles in season; last winter between November and January, the store sold about a pound of white truffles per week.
Says purchasing coordinator Sarah Freedman-Izquierdo, “The people who buy truffles are people who know how to cook with them – people who know food well.” She advises showcasing fresh truffles in simple preparations: “Nothing too complicated, nothing that will mask their flavor.” Try them gently sautÃ©ed in oil or butter and served on bread, or eaten raw in a simple salad, she advises.
Estimated price per pound: $1,550 and up
A favorite at New Year’s parties, weddings and other celebrations, caviar is synonymous with luxury. Caviar, or salted fish roe, comes primarily from sturgeon that live in the Caspian Sea; Russia, Kazakhstan, and Iran are all major exporters. Beluga caviar is thought to be the best, and at around $4,000 a pound, the most expensive. However, overfishing has led to the rapid depletion of the beluga sturgeon population. As a result, the U.S. has banned imports of beluga caviar. (Other countries do import beluga caviar, although production is limited by international quotas.)
Osetra caviar, consisting of small, yellow-brown eggs, is the next best option. At Marky’s in Miami, one ounce of golden osetra caviar costs $147. “The best caviar,” explains Mark Zaslavsky, co-owner of Marky’s, “has a very light, buttery taste, and is not too salty. It makes you long for more. And caviar on Russian blini, with a little Champagne – it takes you to heaven.”
Zaslavsky prides himself on selling “the best of everything” at his shop, which also carries high-end olive oils, cheese, escargot, caviar, and foie gras. To him, fine foods are a luxury along the lines of fur coats and diamonds. “Why do people buy expensive food? Why do they buy expensive cars, big houses, jewelry?” he asks. “Because we all want the best.”
Zaslavsky calls caviar “the taste of success” – an addictive pleasure that has seduced him and other devotees to cross legal and ethical bounds. Demand often exceeds supply for legally obtained caviar (roe harvested in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), and in 2005, Marky’s pled guilty and paid a $1 million fine for purchasing illegal caviar from smugglers. As part of the plea agreement, the company implemented a new system of verification to ensure that all of its caviar meets CITES standards.
Estimated price per pound: $1,500 and up
Saffron, the most expensive spice, is usually sold by the gram – just a small cluster of slender red threads in a tiny glass bottle. At the Spice House in Chicago, owners Tom and Patty Erd sell a gram of superior grade saffron for $6.79, and an even finer version, known as coupÃ© grade, for $8.29.
The threads are the stigmas of tiny crocuses, grown primarily in Spain, Iran, Greece and India. Since each flower only has three stigmas, many blossoms are needed to produce even a small amount of spice. It takes an acre of land and hundreds of thousands of flowers to produce one pound of saffron threads.
Saffron, which Patty Erd calls “a classic,” has been a key ingredient in cuisines since ancient times, and it is commonly used to make risotto, bouillabaisse and paella. Fortunately, a little saffron goes a long way and most recipes call for just a pinch.
“There are 200 to 300 threads per gram, and you only need a few threads at a time,” Erd says. “You use it so sparingly that in the long run it’s not much more expensive than any other spice.”
But be careful to invest in quality, advises Vanilla Saffron Imports president Juan San Mames. His San Francisco direct-import business currently offers saffron for $1,162.24 per pound, or $72.95 per ounce, and carefully vets its saffron for compliance with ISO standards. (Yes, the ISO has saffron specifications.) Cheap saffron producers often leave in the tasteless yellow stamens, adding weight and diluting the red stigmas that give the spice its famous taste.
Estimated price per pound: $150 and up
Kobe beef is renowned among carnivores for its rich flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. You’ll find it at pricey steakhouses and sushi restaurants, and also at some butchers and online retailers, where a four-ounce filet mignon might set you back $50. Kobe beef, also known as “Wagyu,” comes from Wagyu cattle raised in the Hyogo region of Japan. Increasingly, you’ll also find “American Kobe,” a more affordable alternative that is produced by American ranchers raising Wagyu cattle domestically.
Morgan Ranch, in Burwell, Neb., started raising Wagyu in 1992. Co-owner Dan Morgan explains: “Wagyu are genetically selected for eating quality – marbleizing, tenderness, juiciness, and flavor”- as opposed to other characteristics such as hardiness, fast growth, or milk production. He compares Wagyu meat to fine wine: it’s a specialty item for discriminating palates.
Joe Lazzara, owner of Joe’s Butcher Shop in Carmel, Ind., carries both the Japanese and American varities, and a Kobe steak costs about $110 per pound, while a similar cut of American Kobe goes for about half that.
For Lazzara, selling Kobe beef is a mark of prestige. “Carrying Kobe says we’re the kind of purveyor who knows about meat; it gives us credibility. If we’re knowledgeable about Kobe beef, just imagine everything else we must know.”
And once a customer’s purchased a prime cut, how should he cook it? “Carefully,” Lazzara advises. “Sear it at a high temperature, then finish it on low heat. The fat melts and coats the meat with flavor as you cook it.”
6.Civet coffee, aka kopi luwak
Estimated price per pound: $110 and up
This rare coffee has the dubious distinction of being consumed before the customer has even taken a sip. The palm civet, a cat-like animal also called a luwak, ingests fresh coffee cherries but doesn’t digest the beans inside. After the beans pass through the civet’s digestive system, workers collect them and wash them in spring water. Supposedly, the civet’s digestive enzymes make the beans less acidic, improving the coffee’s flavor.
Peter Longo, owner of New York City’s Porto Rico Importing Co., is drawn to all things exotic and novel, so when he first heard about civet coffee, he knew it would be perfect for his store: “It was right up my alley – such an odd and unique thing.” Over the past six months, he’s sold about 12 pounds of civet coffee, mostly in small quantities. He charges $50 for one-eighth of a pound, $90 for a quarter-pound, and $175 for a half-pound; each order is custom-roasted.
Civet coffee may sound bizarre, but it’s not just for the adventurous. “It’s actually mild and smooth, with a piquant aftertaste,” Longo says. “It’s very good, as long as you don’t let your imagination get the better of you.”
Estimated price per pound of beans: $50 and up Estimated price per gallon of extract: $260 and up
Because of its ubiquity, it’s easy to take vanilla for granted, but plain ol’ vanilla is second only to saffron when it comes to the priciest spices.
Vanilla beans come from a tropical orchid native to Mexico; today, Madagascar and Indonesia are the largest producers. Vanilla is expensive because growing and harvesting it is so labor-intensive, explains Patricia Rain, author of Vanilla: The Cultural History of the World’s Favorite Flower and owner of The Vanilla.Company, a wholesale vendor. “Each flower is hand-pollinated, and each bean handpicked,” she says. Then, the beans are dried and cured for several months to intensify the flavor. Six of Rain’s vanilla beans cost $14.95; a 4-ounce bottle of extract sells for $8.25.
Artificial vanilla – a synthetic compound derived from coal tar – is significantly cheaper than real vanilla, but it doesn’t have the same robust, nuanced flavor. Rain worries that if consumers become overexposed to the taste of fake vanilla, which is prevelent in processed sweets, they’ll lose sight of how good the real thing is.
“Just like coffee, or chocolate, it’s worth it to get the best,” she says. “If you love the taste of a product, you need to support it; you need to buy the real thing.”
Estimated price per pound: $50
Foie gras – duck or goose liver fattened by force-feeding – has been a delicacy since Roman times, when geese livers, fattened on figs, were doused in milk and honey. Today, geese and ducks are force-fed corn through feeding tubes, a practice that animal-rights activists decry for its cruelty. Ethical concerns haven’t deterred too many foie gras fans, though: In May 2008 the city of Chicago repealed its foie gras ban after only two years.
Guillermo and Junny Gonzalez, originally from El Salvador, apprenticed with French foie gras producers before moving to California in 1985 and establishing Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras. There, they raise ducks for foie gras and other meat (humanely, according to Guillermo Gonzalez) and sell their products wholesale and retail (their retail price for fresh foie gras is $50 a pound).
“There’s nothing else like foie gras,” Guillermo Gonzalez says. “I can’t find words to describe it. It has a unique flavor and silky texture that can’t be replicated.”
The French are the biggest foie gras devotees, but chefs at Asian, American and a variety of “fusion” restaurants have embraced foie gras as a way to make any entrÃ©e more indulgent. You’ll find it on top of burgers and steaks, stuffed inside game hens and even made into hot dogs. Traditionally, though, it’s served as an appetizer, with toast and sometimes a little fresh fruit or compote. Serve it with chilled Sauterne.
9.Rare golden tigerfish
Price per pound: $714
In 2007, a restaurant in China bought a rare giant golden tigerfish for $75,000, believing the fish to be an omen of good luck, according to Reuters. The fish, caught off the southern coast of China, was almost six feet long and weighed 105 pounds. The original asking price for the fish was $103,500, but the restaurant was able to strike a bargain – at a price that makes even toro seem cheap.
Best Clubs in the World to Party In
Fancy a night out that could change your life? Want to lose your inhibitions, push the boundaries and experience something new or exciting? There are some clubs in the world that take evening entertainment to a whole other level and bring an excitement not usually found in clubs. Check out these beauties and prepare for a mind blowing experience.
The box is full of surprises. There is very little sign on approach the box contains an evening of delight and fantasy that has never been done before in london. Itâ€™s a journey into the unknown so be prepared for any eventuality. Expect to be entertained and titilated like you have never been before. It is the lovechild of a circus and a burlesque club. There are always entertainers amongst the crowd, ready to amaze and surprise. Often some nudity creeps in but itâ€™s all in the name of fun. Itâ€™s a good idea to leave closed minds and inhibitions at the door, as the world of the box is unlike any mortal place that you have been before. It certainly is a walk on the wild side.
Want to head for a well established, beautiful yet surreal venue, usually packed to the rafters with the A list crowd? Well, the obvious choice would be Funky Buddha. It holds reign in the heart of Piccadilly, attracting the good and the beautiful from around London and the world. Funky Buddha is a world that is very luxurious and creative. The theme of the club merges the far east, Buddhism, cool beats and food that will melt in your mouth. It makes for a wild night on in London. Check out the waterfall, the cool seating areas and the music. This club has sisters around the globe because the format is unbeatable.
Los Angeles can be a dull affair when you are seeking out a night to remember. Bar licences can really put a damper upon the proceedings, as well as jaded music and pretentious spaces. Avalon has been LAâ€™s superclub for 90 years. Yes, you read that right – 90 years. It has kept the happy people of LA entertained for almost a century for some pretty impressive reasons. Firstly, the bar has the golden alcohol licence, it is open for 24 hours a day. This means that whatever your body clock demands, there is a great party going on in the club. Great music is what makes a wild night out Â possible. Imagine having crazy fun without the beats that will get your group moving. Well, how about a club that has had resident DJs such as Sacha? It speaks volumes that the club has nurtured the super stars of club DJs and has a history of looking after the most talented on the circuit. Then there is the venue. It isnâ€™t the slick, shiny venue you might hope for but a cavern-like old theatre with tonnes of atmosphere and character. Want to have an amazing night/morning with friends and listen to some classy music? Avalon has all the potential for a wild night out.
There is a place in Sydney that has the ingredients for an unforgettable night. Tokyo Sing Song has entertainers that will amuse and freak you out, dancers of the type that you have never seen before and music that will make you both laugh and cry. Every weekend is shrouded in mystery. No two are alike or even remotely predictable. there are drag queens, karaoke disasters, comedy to make you cry, wild dancing and some very unusual outfits on parade. this is a place to attend when you are ready to go wild. Enjoy this one off experience.
Put down the donuts and pick up an apple
Did we ever think the day would arrive when Homer Simpson would be taking the blame for society’s poor lifestyle choices?
Well that day is upon us friends, sad as that may seem.
Hypnotherapist Miller has written to The Simpsons creator Matt Groening to urge him to make Homer â€œput down the donuts and pick up an apple.
Miller believes that Homers unhealthy lifestyle and penchant for Duff beer and junk food is sending out a dangerous message to fans of the popular show.
Of course, we all believe our favourite Simpsons character to be genuine role models â€“ only a fool would think otherwise…Dâ€™oh!
Homerâ€™s insightful outlook on life makes him a terrific source of advice…
Homerâ€™s take on life
Homer has been a part of our lives for so long, we sometimes forget heâ€™s there.
Loveably enduring, the magic of The Simpsonâ€™s means that while everything around us changes rapidly, Homer stays just the same.
Who can forget his simplistic explanation to Lisa on how gambling enhances the good things in life?
Homer: You like ice cream, don’t you?
Homer: And do you like it even better when it has hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream, cherries, chocolate chips, and crumbled-up cookie things. Mmmmm…. crumbled-up cookie things.
Lisa: So gambling makes a good thing even better.
Homer: Yes, it is like there is some kind of bond between us.
The magic of Homer J Simpson!
No doubt Homer would approve of the casino bonuses and no deposit bonuses available at http://www.bonusmob.com.
Experts like Miller will insist we check out the Responsible Gambling section at the bottom of the page before starting!
The genius that gave Homer Simpson to the world, Mr Matt Groening. After almost 25 years on our screens, it seems a bit late to blame Homer for poor lifestyles now!
Famous Homer Simpson Quotes â€“ the legend that is Homer has given us some pearls of wisdom through the years. Here are some of our favourites.
- â€œI’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me Superman.â€
- â€œKids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.â€
- â€œBart, with $10,000, weâ€™d be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things likeâ€¦love!â€
- â€œFacts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.â€
Homer the global icon
Incredibly, it seems Miller is genuine in his belief that Homerâ€™s carefree lifestyle and attitude towards food and drink is setting a bad example to the world at large.
“Homer is one of the most iconic faces in the entire world and is loved by everyone and thatâ€™s why itâ€™s a massive concern,” he went on.
â€œHomerâ€™s indulgent habits make it seem like being fat is okayâ€¦Being fat isnâ€™t good, there are many health risks and negative effectives attached to it.â€
As Homer himself would doubtless point out, Miller seems to have confused â€˜real-ityâ€™ with â€˜car-toonsâ€™.
How to prepare for a psychic reading
How to prepare for a psychic reading
Psychic readings are becoming commonplace these days, especially now that so many psychics make themselves available for online readings. You can easily find a psychic to do your reading for you at a site like Psychic Living. The good thing about choosing an association website like this is that each of the psychics on the site will have been scrutinised before being allowed to advertise on the site. Youâ€™ll also find a range of different psychics including angel and tarot readers, mediums and clairvoyants.
For many people, a psychic reading will be something new and you may be wondering what you need to do to get ready for it. In short, thereâ€™s not a lot thatâ€™s required of you, but it helps to have an idea of what to expect and how to prepare.
1. Write down your questions. Itâ€™s easy to go off topic when you have a reading, and if you have certain issues you are really keen to discuss, itâ€™s best to tick them off a list as you cover them. That way, you donâ€™t forget anything important. Donâ€™t be afraid to be specific. The more detailed you can be, the easier it will be for a psychic to help tune into your concerns.
2. Take time to be calm. Take a few minutes before your appointment to be quiet and reflective. Donâ€™t rush around doing chores right up to the last moment as youâ€™ll be less open to the reading and what you might gain from it. Try and empty your mind of clutter about day to day life, so you can focus on the reading.
3. Limit distractions. In the same vein, make sure that youâ€™re not going to be disturbed during the reading â€“ by other people in the house, by the phone or doorbell. Turn off other electrical equipment and close down other windows and programmes on your computer.
By making these simple preparations, you should get the most benefit out of a psychic reading. Youâ€™ll be ready to listen to the insights that a psychic can offer you and you should come away from the reading with a clearer understanding of your current life situation and the path you are travelling on.
The Coolest Casinos in the World
The Coolest Casinos in the World
There are many unique casinos scattered across the globe that can make excellent tourist destinations. One of the coolest casinos in the world is located in an unexpected place, Germany. The Baden-Baden Casino has become synonymous with world class gambling. The Baden-Baden is distinctive for its opulent dÃ©cor. In fact, it has a rather luxurious French air to it with red carpet, gold moulding and sparkling crystal chandeliers. Many visitors to the Baden-Baden feel like royalty when visiting the casino. The casino also offers some of the best gambling with promising odds.
Many casino gamblers find that for day to day play, online casinos such as http://www.jackpotcity.co.uk/mobile-casino/iphone/ provide the best option. These casinos can be easily accessed from home as well as from many mobile devices. Therefore, it is quite convenient to play when the fancy strikes. Online casinos never close which make them suitable to fit into any schedule. While playing at an online casino can fulfill day to day purposes, sometimes gamblers want to get away from it all while enjoying some of the finest gambling in the world.
World travelers can also find one of the top casinos in Kazakhstan, another unlikely location. Here, the Casino Zodiac has fast become a draw for gamblers from across the globe. Like the Baden-Baden, many visitors cite the ambience of the facility for its success.
Another one of the coolest casinos in the world isnâ€™t far from Germany; in fact it is located right in the heart of London. The Empire is the largest casino in the capitol. Well known games such as blackjack, punto banco and roulette can be found here. The Empire provides an extensive amount of tables and machines to accommodate their large patronage. One thing for which the Empire is known is its top of the line cuisine.
Poltergeist Possibility or Plumbing Problems?
Poltergeist Possibility or Plumbing Problems?
People react differently when they hear strange bumps in the night. They either believe that they are imagining things or something bigger may be going on. For some, it is thought that ghosts are making these odd sounds. Theories have swarmed from city to city and country to country, but nevertheless prompted many to call in the real-life ghostbusters.
SyFy Channelâ€™s â€œGhost Huntersâ€ is a show with well-renowned paranormal experts who have been trained by the best of the best. Â â€œOdd noises are rarely caused by other worldly things,â€ said Ghost Hunter Jason Hawes. â€œMost of the time, these unexplained, strange noises are actually a sign of plumbing problems that can, in most instances, be easily fixed.â€Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson were taught how to work on fixtures by the #1 plumbing and drain service, Roto-Rooter. A decade later, Hawes and Wilson brought their talents onto the television screen and attracted the masses.
Thanks to Roto-Rooter, many of the once unexplainable have become easily crystal clear. Something simple such as a loose or eroded pipe can interestingly cause weird sounds and cause the homeowner to become suspicious.Â Roto Rooter Fall Plumbing Tips can be utilized in case of trouble and can be found on their website www.Roto-Rooter.com.
CIA Spy Tricks
CIA Spy Tricks
For decades, rumors of top-secret “magic” manuals swirled within CIA circles.
The long-lost guides were said to have been written by a prominent magician, but many officers dismissed them as myth, believing them too fantastical to be true.
But in 2007, retired CIA officer Robert Wallace unearthed an extraordinary archived file and is now making its contents available to the public for the first time.
The file contained once highly-classified manuals written in the early 1950s by American magician John Mulholland that detailed the secrets of magic that could enhance the art of espionage.
It was thought that every copy of his reports had been destroyed in 1973.
But Wallace obtained surviving copies and, with intelligence historian H. Keith Melton, combined the two manuals — one examining sleight of hand techniques and the other on covert signaling — into one book, recently released by publisher HarperCollins.
Complete with illustrations, “The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception” describes a wide range of Mulholland’s Houdini-like tricks designed to help spies pull off a number of clandestine operations, such as slipping poison into an enemy’s drink or surreptitiously removing documents.
Other magician-historians previously established Mulholland’s connection to the CIA and printed portions of his reports â€“ and one, Michael Edwards, said he received full copies of the reports from the CIA in 2003. But the authors say their book is the first to publish the historical documents in their entirety.