A Gourmet meal is one to be relished, cherished and then talked about often once your experience is over. Sometimes it’s hard to spot that one ingredient, ‘x’, which has transformed that one meal into a heavenly one. It may be commonplace or rare, it may be loved or hated. But all over the world, it has been universally agreed that these 4 rare ingredients add the touch of sophistication and class that a gourmet meal requires.
Several aspects separate the food of Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan, but there is one thing that unites them all and that is their love for caviar. Ninety per cent of the world’s caviar comes from the waters of these countries. The highest quality of caviar is sought in the Caspian Sea and comes from the rare Beluga sturgeon that spawns only once in 10 years and is rightly known as the Rolls Royce of the floating world.
Caviar eggs need to be kept juicy, intact and evenly sized. They are removed carefully and delicately from the fish by hand, the operation requiring surgical precision and intensity. At Mumbai’s Palladium Hotel’s edgy sushi-sake bar, Yuuka, Chef Ting Yen serves up Ossetra caviar on an ice block. Yuuka is that rare beast-a restaurant offering caviar, truffles, saffron and edible gold.
October is white truffle season and the aromatic fungi that has graced the plates of French Royalty for centuries has epicureans everywhere clamouring for some. The king of all truffles is the stately white Alba truffle, which is available only in Alba in the wild. Unsurprisingly, this has skyrocketed its prices to about USD 10,000 for a pound. No Michelin restaurant worth its salt would be caught without this exquisite fungi in their kitchen.
Yubari King Melon
Even if you aren’t too fond of ripe green melon, odds are that you will fall in love with this exquisite King Melon. The King Melon is a delicate combination that was created in 1961 by putting together two different melon breeds – Burpee’s spicy Cantaloupe and Earl’s favourite. The result was a spectacular melon with its orange flesh, speckled skin and perfect proportions. Slice up a Yubari King Melon, take a few bites, relax and enjoy its sweet, watery, crisp taste that follows. This perfection doesn’t come cheap; a pair of Yubari King Melon was recently sold for USD 26,000.
The history of saffron goes all the way back to 2300 BC in Acadia and is even mentioned in the Bible and in 5th century BC Kashmiri records. Saffron has now become synonymous with India, its colours gracing our national flag. Today, it is hard to find a world-class dish that’s not scented with this effulgent spice. Moroccan tagine is incomplete without a lace of saffron running throughout and musky kesar is ubiquitous in biriyani and shahi tadka. This burnished spice is among the most expensive in the world at and will burn a USD 10,000 hole in your wallet.