(image: wikimedia commons/tomomarusan)
Although the Matsutake mushrooms can be found in China, Korea, the Pacific Northwest, and Northern Europe, the Japanese Matsutake is very rare, producing an annual harvest of only 1,000 tons. Due to high demand, these highly prized mushrooms can fetch up to $2,000 in the Japanese market.
Wagyu Beef from Japan
Literally meaning, “Japanese cow”, Wagyu refers to certain breeds of cattle from Japan that come from traceable and pure bloodlines. Wagyu beef is produced under some of the world’s most strictest food standards resulting in high quality meat with a distinctly high level of fat marbling. One of the most popular type of Wagyu beef is Kobe beef which comes from the Tajima strain. The cattle must fulfill certain requirements including being a bull or virgin cow, born in Hyogo prefecture, and raised on the local grass and water. Real certified Kobe beef from Kobe, Japan can cost $500 to $1600 for steaks for four people.
“Almas” Beluga Caviar From Iran
The pearly white eggs from an Iranian Beluga sturgeon found in the Caspian Sea, age between 60-100, produces Almas caviar, which is regularly sold for $25,000 per 1 kg tin. This caviar is so rare, the only store that you can purchase Almas Caviar from is the Caviar House & Prunier located in Picadilly in London.
Yubari King Melon
In Japan, fruit can be considered luxury items and would often be given as gifts. Farmers meticulously grow fruit under tightly controlled conditions to ensure they end up with fruits with the perfect shape, size, color, pattern, and taste. This explains why you can go into a department store or gift shop and see a box of grapes selling for $64 or a twelve-pack of strawberries selling for $69. One of the most expensive fruits you’ll find are Yubari King melons. A top grade Yubari melon should be perfectly round and have an exceptionally smooth rind and would sell for around $200. The highest price paid for a pair of these was at an auction in 2008, where a buyer paid about $26,000.
Another one of Japan’s most expensive fruit is the Densuke watermelon. Grown only in the northernmost island of Hokkaido, this extremely rare watermelon is dark and stripeless on the outside with a unique level of sweetness on the inside. The first picks of the season can be sold for thousands of dollars — the record is $6,100 for a 17-pound Densuke watermelon.
(image: wikimedia commons/Safa Daneshvar)
Saffron comes from the flowering plant known as the Saffron Crocus. Each flower produces three valuable stigmas or “threads”. With each stigma having to be meticulously picked by hand, an enormous amount of labor hours is required. As a result, a pound of saffron can sell for as high as $5,000.
Italian White Alba Truffles
(image: wikimedia commons/Matthias Kabel)
Truffles are highly prized in the culinary world for their rich, unique flavors and their pungent aroma. Due to their scarcity, a single truffle can reach very high prices, with the most valuable type being the Italian White Truffle. These are only available for hunting and harvesting for only a couple months of the year from one part of Italy. The record price for one of these truffles was set in 2007, when a buyer paid $330,000 for White Truffle that weighed 3.3 lbs.