The best of their kind
Every chef knows a great dish starts with the right ingredients. Rich flavours, appealing colours, ethically sourced or locally grown. Here are some ingredients that are exclusive because of their taste, traditional origin, or scarcity. They’re the best of their kind, and their high quality attracts foodies from all over the world!
Pistachios grow in many places, but Iranian pistachios are generally held to be best. They contain a higher level of unsaturated oil, which makes them more suitable for roasting at high temperatures. The most expensive pistachios, however, come from Italy, where they grow on the volcanic soil around the town of Bronte. They cost between 50 and 70 euros per kilo.
The Densuke watermelon
Originally, this black watermelon is only grown in the northern part of Japan, on the island of Hokkaido. The inside is said to be very crispy, with a delicious taste, high nutritional value, and unparalleled sweetness. Seeds are available in Europe and America but growing them requires a lot of care and takes seven to eight months.
You can easily offer your guests a premium experience by using remarkable, unusual ingredients. A herb like borage, with its sugary flowers, or fruits like the cucumber and lime-flavoured mouse melon are easy to grow and instantly add a little ‘extra’ to a dish, so you can earn some extra revenue!
Caciocavallo Podolico cheese
The milk used for Caciocavallo Podolico cheese comes from semi-wild Podolico cows that graze high up in the mountains. They are milked by hand, just once a day. The cheese curds are dried in pairs hanging from a rope, a tradition originating from the time that makers would still sling the cheeses over their horses. The cheese can be enjoyed fresh, but the complex flavours of aromatic herbs really come out after a longer ageing process!
The matsutake mushroom
Most fungi are easy to grow, but the matsutake mushroom begs to differ. This ‘Japanese answer to truffles’ grows in pine forests, but due to climate change, its harvest has plummeted by 95% over the years. The rare mushroom is loved for its spicy cinnamon-like aroma, more than their spicy, pine-like flavour.
DOP Aged aceto balsamic vinegar
Everyone loves the syrupy goodness of balsamic vinegar. Many good varieties come from the region of Modena, including the two top-level DOP varieties. This traditional Italian Aceto Balsamico needs to be approved by a council before it is bottled. Ripened in wooden barrels for 12 and 25 years, it has the ultimate thickness and sweetness. To finish it off, DOP Aceto Balsamico is only available in characteristic 100ml bottles.
Did you know?
The Italian quality label DOP means ‘Denominazione d’Origine Protetta’, or ‘Protected Designation of Origin’, meaning the product is made, processed, and packed according to tradition and in a specific geographical zone.
…And of course, there’s Beluga caviar -or the more expensive Almas caviar from sturgeons with albinism-, the soft and buttery wagyu beef, the Alba white and Perigord black truffle, and many more... What is your favourite high-quality ingredient?