Food is part of our daily lives, and while we definitely eat for sustenance, we also eat for the enjoyment of all the different tastes and textures; and for the experiences that go hand-in-hand with savouring a meal. For most of us, finding food is never a problem, we just pop down to our favourite store or meat wholesaler and within a few minutes we have a basket full of quality meat and other goodies. But certain foods are beyond the realm of local suppliers, these are foods so rare that you’d have to move heaven and earth to enjoy them. And here are just three of these hard-to-acquire culinary gems.
Let’s begin with the strong-smelling underground fungus otherwise known as truffles. Considered a rare delicacy, truffles are wild products that grow naturally and can’t be cultivated. Traditionally pigs were used to sniff them out, but as pigs weren’t inclined to leave the truffles alone once they’d found them, it became the practice to train dogs to do the hunting work – dogs apparently are easier to dissuade from the truffle beds in exchange for a treat. Extraordinarily expensive, a white truffle weighing 4.16 pounds sold at a Sotheby’s auction for a whopping $61,250 – that’s roughly R730 000!
Considered one of the most precious spices in the world it’s also one of the most expensive, selling for more than $500 an ounce. While crocus flowers are aplenty, it’s not the flower that makes saffron so expensive, it’s the labour involved in harvesting it. Each crocus flower yields only three stigmas which are hand-picked and then dried to create the saffron strand. It takes about 50 to 60 flowers to create 1 tablespoon of saffron. Difficult to pin down taste-wise, saffron is said to transform food adding a mysterious allure and distinctive yellow colour to dishes such as risottos, paellas and biryanis,
Kobe beef is cut from the Tajima strain of Japanese black cattle which can only be found in Hyogo prefecture. The Hyogo government tightly control the insemination of all cows and every ounce of Kobe beef can be traced back to a small number of cattle. It’s highly prized for its well-marbled texture which lends it great flavour and tenderness, and it’s so scarce that Kobe’s marketing board only officially allow eight restaurants in the US to sell its meat, and none is ever sold in stores. Enjoying a Kobe steak will set you back hundreds of dollars.
While N1 might not stock Kobe beef, they do stock the best quality meat in Cape Town, while you may have to dream of truffles, saffron and Kobe beef; delicious steaks and a wide variety of other high-quality Halaal and non-Halaal meat products are simply a call away.