What would you pay for Christmas Dinner – $51,056.44 or $4.99?


Music – “Ate Too Much For Christmas” from Christmas In Australia by The Sunny Cowgirls. Released: 2008.

In our contemporary world of extremes, it’s easy to find the ridiculous to the sublime and food is no exception.

An article from the UK publication, The Telegraph, dated December 7, 2012, London Chef Ben Spalding announced a Christmas menu for four, to the tune of ₤31,250 per person, or at the time of this writing, $51,056.44 US.

Now, to be fair, the meal offered the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the Holy Grail of food, for the discerning diners (we hope they are discerning, at that price), to be cooked at the guest’s home. It should be noted that Chef Spalding donated 80% of his fee to charitable causes. The key ingredients list for this sumptuous banquet follows:

Diva Vodka ₤2,000 $3,267.61 US
Piper Heidsieck 1907 Champagne ₤37,000 $60,450.00 US
Pata Negra Iberico Jambon ₤600 $980.28 US
Birds Nest ₤100 $163.38 US
Almas Caviar ₤5,000 $8.169.00 US
150 Yr Old Balsamic ₤1,030 $1,682.81 US
Whole White Alba Truffle ₤3,500 $5,718.30 US
Pullet de Bresse’s for stock ₤2,500 $4,084.50 US
Saffron Stock ₤500 $816.89 US
Yubari King Melon ₤2,500 $4,084.50 US
Dodine of Rare Breed Turkey ₤500 $816.89 US
Wagyu Beef ₤4,500 $7,352.01 US
Gold Leaf ₤6,000 $9,802.68 US
Periogord Truffles ₤900 $1,470.38 US
Akbari Pistachios ₤5,000 $8,168.78 US
Kopi Luwak * ₤3,000 $4,901.27 US
Amadei Chocolate ₤150 $245.06 US
Densuke Watermelon ₤2,600 $4,247.75 US
Gold Ugandan Vanilla Plate ₤1,500 $2,450.63 US
1949 Cheval Blanc ₤4,680 $7,645.96 US
1988 Corton-Charlemange, Coche Dury ₤1,390 $2,270.91 US
1959 La Tache ₤5,400 $8,822.90 US
1976 Chateau d’Yquem ₤990 $1,617.52

Wagyu Beef

Wagyu Beef


Pata Negra Iberico Jambon

Pata Negra Iberico Jambon


Yubari King Melons

Yubari King Melons

Oh, and ₤180 of dry ice ($294.11 US)

I can honestly say that I have never dined on any of these luxurious ingredients (my budget may have something to do with it), but it seems a teeny bit ostentatious to me, charitable donation not withstanding (the chef may have donated his fee, but the diners still had to fork over big bucks for the pleasure of having him cook it).

Almas Caviar

Almas Caviar

Gold Leaf

Gold Leaf

*I draw your attention to paying $1,225.32 US per person, for a cup of coffee made with poop. Yes, that’s right, poop. “Kopi Luwak” is also known as “Civet Coffee”, as the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) eats coffee berries and excretes them, in the usual way (no description necessary).

Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, who gave us "Civet Coffee"

Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, who gave us “Civet Coffee”

According to the stories, after the civet eats the fleshy pulp of the berries, fermentation occurs in its digestive tract. Enzymes seep into the beans, therefore ‘improving’ the coffee. After passing through the civet’s digestive system (read “poop”), along with other fecal matter, the beans are collected and made into Civet Coffee. Starbucks, take note.

I don’t know if any four people ever took Chef Spalding up on his 2012 Christmas dinner blowout….if they did, I certainly hope they came home with a doggy bag. But, alas, don’t fret. There are alternatives. Although probably not open on Christmas day, Kentucky Fried Chicken is offering it’s “Festive Feast”, which includes a bucket of eight pieces of chicken (you have a lot of leeway here, from any of their numerous recipes), two large sides, four biscuits and twelve cookies, all for $19.99. At $4.99 per person for a group of four, it may not be exciting, but it’s affordable.

Kentucky Fried Chicken, 'Festive Feast" Christmas Dinner

Kentucky Fried Chicken, ‘Festive Feast” Christmas Dinner

Unfortunately, however, no Civet Coffee will be offered. Too bad.

About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,500. What next? More shelves?
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