Category Archives: Drink
Admittedly the tin’s made of 24-carat gold. Even without the gold, a smaller tin will set you back £800. However, It’s not just posh foods that are graced with the ‘most expensive’ label. Hot dogs, bagels, baked potatoes, sandwiches, pizza, frittata – they’ve all qualified. Usually because of the addition of something glamorous like gold dust or truffles. A bit like sticking jewels onto your trainers. As PG tips did – not of course with their trainers but with the world’s most expensive tea bag. Created to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary it was decorated with 280 diamonds and is worth £7,500.
Unbelievably extravagant? It’s almost insignificant compared to the world’s most expensive water. A 1.25 ml bottle of Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani went for $60,000. Designed by Fernando Altamirano, it’s coated with 24-carat gold. If you missed the charity auction, and have $3.3 million lying around in your sock drawer, there’s a ‘dummy’ version in various precious metals studded with 6,000 diamonds.
This ‘world’s most expensive’ label is not easy to establish. There are claims and counter claims. It’s not a level playing field either. One thing’s priced by the bottle, something else by the ounce and so on. The only real benchmark is the Guinness Book of World Records and even those entries are constantly changing. In it or not, there are some wonderful finds, like these two exceptional cheeses. It’s not their rarity or price tags that make them so fascinating, though at around $500 and $616 per pound respectively they’re hardly cheap. No the real joy lies in the fact that Sweden’s Moose House Farm cheese contains the milk from three unusually tame moose. They answer to the names of Gullan, Haelga and Juna! Can’t say that about your average cheddar! As for Pule, it’s produced from the milk of 100 Serbian donkeys. And costs 1,000 Euros a kilo.
Not all highly priced foods are exotic and rare. Saffron, derived from the crocus, is reasonably common. Yet it takes up to 75,000 flowers to make one pound, accounting for the price of up to $5,000 dollars. The most expensive potato, La Bonnotte is grown uniquely on one French island, Noirmoutier. Melons are commonplace in Europe, rare in Japan. Which accounts for the $6,100 paid for a 17 lb. black Densuke watermelon. A pair of Yubari cantaloupes, auctioned in 2008, slaughtered that record fetching a mighty $22,872. And this September, Sotheby’s Manhattan showroom held an auction not of Old Masters, but of vegetables! Some expected to reach $1,000 a case.
Incidentally some ‘ordinary’ foods do make the Guinness Book of World Records. There’s Chef Blunos’ £111 cheese sandwich and the $69 hot dog from Manhattan’s Serendipity 3 restaurant. Domenico Crolla’s Pizza Royale 007 is a contender too, at $4,200. Serendipity’s Frrrozen Haute Chocolate Sundae definitely made it with its £15,730 price tag. From $1000 bagels and frittatas to beer at £500 a bottle, the world of gourmet eating seems in fine shape to me. Did someone say credit crunch!
When the Cute Hoor party finally drives you to drink, there are plenty of ways to describe the state you’re in. It’s hardly surprising that a country renowned for its great drinkers as well as for the richness of its language should have a wealth of expressions for drinking and being drunk.
Mangled, rat-arsed, cabbaged, hammered, ruined, scorched or trolleyed – and the rest. The list is pretty long. Different counties have their own expressions. In Waterford, where I was born, you’re in the horrors, in Kerry you’re flaming, in Donegal steaming and in Limerick, you’re said to be out of your tree. There are, of course, degrees of drunkenness with corresponding attitudes to match. Someone who’s rubbered or flutered may be quite a jolly drunk although talking utter shite. If you’re slaughtered you’ll be pretty much in bits, but still more or less coherent. On the other hand, if you’re ossified you’re likely to pick a fight. Twisted is when you’re off your head and need help getting home. Poteen, home made potato spirit, will make you first polluted, then petrified and finally paralytic.
Many of these expressions have crept, or maybe I should say staggered, into everyday use in England and America. Others are still found mostly among the Irish. Locked is one of my favourites. Stocious is another great word, which I heard a lot when I was a kid though I’ve been unable to trace its origins. Perhaps the best of all is ‘circling over Shannon’, derived from the visit of Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s president, to Ireland when he was apparently too drunk to get off the plane. As his aides desperately tried to sober him up, the plane circled six times over Shannon airport before landing briefly, though Yeltsin never made it off the plane. Ultimately pleading ill health, he might well have admitted to being ‘melted’ – in other words very tired. Which is what you get when you have, as they say, ‘had the drink taken.’