It better be good: Philadelphia restaurant Le Castagne has found a buyer for its $26,000 truffle dinner for four.
JT Foxx, founder of the "wealth networking" company Mega Partnering, has purchased the nine-course meal, the restaurant announced Tuesday.
"After reading about it, I couldn't dial Le Castagne fast enough to be the first to purchase this ultra-exclusive, one-of-a-kind $26,000 truffle dinner," Foxx said in a press release.
Anthony Masapollo, managing partner Le Castagne, promised Foxx and his three guests "an extraordinary culinary experience they will never forget."
Foxx and Co. will chow down on an undisclosed date in December.
The feast features several dishes containing white truffles -- a delicacy that reportedly can cost more than $6,000 a pound -- plus a 47mm Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Amagnetic 3 Days Automatic Titanio watch valued at around $11,000 (not suitable for eating).
Although Foxx had to pre-pay, he'll have to fork over a little extra the day of the meal. The tip is not included.
Click here to check out Le Castagne's $26,000 dinner menu.
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The closest thing to the real truffle experience is another kind of truffle. Different varieties exist in all parts of the world. On the high end are European varieties like black truffles and summer truffles; they are far less expensive than the prized white truffle. Much less expensive still, though, are "truffles" from other parts of the world -- like the "pecan truffle," pictured above. Often found beneath pecan groves in the American south, these lack the strength, complexity and sticker shock of their European counterparts.
Truffle oil has gotten a bad rap in recent years; it's often said to be overused, and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/dining/16truf.html?pagewanted=all" target="_hplink">nearly all of what's on the market</a> is artificially derived. But sprinkling <a href="http://www.sabatinotartufi.com/WHITE-TRUFFLE-OIL-3-4-fl-oz-100ml-130-258-prod.htm" target="_hplink">some of the good stuff</a> on top of pasta or mashed potatoes reproduces the aroma of freshly-shaved white truffles as accurately as any other method.
True, morels are expensive in their own right, and they aren't nearly as pungent as a good truffle. But they have a big advantage over their subterrean cousins: texture. A wild morel, at the height of spring, cooked in cream and butter, is one of nature's great delights.
Dried Porcini Mushrooms
Dried porcini mushroomss, which are <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Melissas-Dried-Porcini-Mushrooms-0-5-Ounce/dp/B000F47E32" target="_hplink">relatively inexpensive</a>, are the perfect way to deliver some of the funky, savory flavor of truffles in a manageable way. They never go bad and can be quickly reconstituted in warm water.
Here's where we start to get a little further afield. But bear with us. Good Parmigiano-Romano cheese is from northern Italy, is extremely fragrant, and can be shaved atop pasta and other carbs to delightful effect. Sounds a little like truffles to us!
Another salty, rich Italian food. As with truffles, a little goes a long way.
On the face of it, truffles and durian, a large tropical fruit grown mostly in Southeast Asia, have little in common. But both have strong, funky smells that can turn some people off, and both are, to some degree, luxury foods. They're both rumored aphrodisiacs. We wouldn't recommend shaving durian on top of your mac n' cheese, but if you're in the mood for something that can replicate the all-consuming aroma of a top-notch truffle, durian might be your ticket.