5 of the Most Expensive Pizzas Ever Made

iStock/LauriPatterson
iStock/LauriPatterson

by Kirsten Howard

Taking a break from the usual chain restaurant pizzas and paying for a pie that’s a little more decadent could leave your wallet a lot lighter. In 2017, New York City’s Bodega Negra partnered with Patrón to create the Platinum Margarita Margherita Pizza, a $500 pie covered in glazed lobster, mango, Osetra caviar, black truffles, and avocado. There’s a big difference between a $40 gourmet pie and a $12,000 one. Beware: truffles ahead!

1. Domenico Crolla's Pizza Royale 007

The Pizza Royale 007 was created in 2007 to raise funds for the Fred Hollows Foundation, which was set up to prevent curable blindness in developing countries. The pizza was bought for a whopping £2150 (about $2830 in 2019) at a charity auction by lawyer Maurizio Morelli as a Valentine’s Day gift for his wife, Sabrina.

Award-winning restaurateur Domenico Crolla flew from Glasgow to Rome to prepare the pizza, which was topped with edible gold, cognac-marinated lobster, venison medallions, Scottish smoked salmon, and champagne-soaked caviar.

"This is the perfect romantic Valentine's gift,” Crolla said at the time. "We Italians are experts at amore and I think this pizza will show that the way to a woman's heart is definitely through her stomach."

2. Industry Kitchen's 24K Pizza

This New York restaurant's 24K Pizza holds the Guinness World Record for the “most expensive pizza commercially available.” The pie's crust is infused with black squid ink and topped with white Stilton cheese, foie gras, Osetra caviar, truffles, and actual gold leaves. Feeling indulgent? You can add an ounce and a half of Almas caviar for an extra $700, bringing your total bill to $2700.

The previous record holder, Gordon Ramsay’s £100 ($132) pizza at his since-closed Maze Restaurant in London, was covered with white truffle paste, fontina cheese, pancetta, cep mushrooms, onion puree, and mizuna lettuce. The final cost of the pizza rose based on your taste for truffles. It was topped with a very rare Italian white truffle and, as it was shaved onto your pizza at the table, it was up to you to say “enough.” If you didn’t, and the chef continued shaving the entire truffle onto your pie, the bill could go up to a pretty eye-watering total. The truffle was worth up to about $2500 per kilogram.

3. Favitta’s Pizza for Lovers

Though the restaurant is now closed, Favitta's Family Pizzeria in Henrietta, New York offered the “Pizza For Lovers,” which was an incredibly expensive pizza that actually kind of wasn’t. The catch with this bad boy was that it wasn’t the pizza itself that contributed to the $8180 price tag, it was the extras that came with it. Prepared for romantic couples on Valentine’s Day, the $19 pizza was served with a $160 bottle of champagne—and an $8000 diamond ring.

“We'll bring the ring, and I'll personally deliver it, with a little white cloth over my arm, and open the bottle for them," explained owner Tom Favitta.

4. Nino’s Bellissima Pizza's Bellissima

Back in 2012, at this now-shuttered New York City pizzeria, the main event was the “Bellissima,” a $1000 pizza that earned its price tag because of the $820 worth of caviar plopped on top of it. (The same pizza was made available in 2007, but was then known as the "Luxury Pizza.”) Dollops of beluga and black Russian Royal Sevruga roe were liberally sprinkled over the dough base, with a bit of sliced lobster and crème fraîche to finish the job.

“People who know about their caviar love this pizza,” said owner Nino Selimaj. “We sell them to politicians, Wall Street traders, or couples celebrating a birthday or anniversary. But diners always see it on the menu and ask about it, why it is so expensive and how many we sell. People are always curious.”

5. Renato Viola's Louis XIII Pizza

So here it is: the most expensive pizza in the world.

Concocted by Italian master pizza chef Renato Viola, the tiny 8-inch Louis XIII pizza is topped with mozzarella, three types of caviar, imported lobster from Norway, and pink salt collected by hand from the Murray River in Australia, but the real kicker is how the whole thing is prepared.

When you order the $12,000 pizza, three food artisans—a pizza-maker, a sommelier, and a separate chef to cook all the ingredients—will fly to your house from Italy and prepare the pizza in your very own kitchen, making it the world’s most expensive order-in pizza. Anyone for Pizza Hut?

6 Tasty Facts About Scrapple

Kate Hopkins, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Kate Hopkins, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Love it or hate it, scrapple is a way of life—especially if you grew up in Pennsylvania or another Mid-Atlantic state like New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, or Virginia. And this (typically) pork-filled pudding isn’t going anywhere. While its popularity in America dates back more than 150 years, the dish itself is believed to have originated in pre-Roman times. In celebration of National Scrapple Day, here’s everything you ever—or never—wanted to know about the dish.

1. Scrapple is typically made of pig parts. Lots and lots of pig parts.

Though every scrapple manufacturer has its own particular recipe, it all boils down to the same basic process—literally: boiling up a bunch of pig scraps (yes, the parts you don’t want to know are in there) to create a stock which is then mixed with cornmeal, flour, and a handful of spices to create a slurry. Once the consistency is right, chopped pig parts are added in and the mixture is turned into a loaf and baked.

As the dish has gained popularity, chefs have put their own unique spins on it, adding in different meats and spices to play with the flavor. New York City’s Ivan Ramen even cooked it up waffle-style.

2. People were eating scrapple long before it made its way to America.

People often think that the word scrapple derives from scraps, and it’s easy to understand why. But it’s actually an Americanized derivation of panhaskröppel, a German word meaning "slice of rabbit." Much like its modern-day counterpart, skröppel—which dates back to pre-Roman times—was a dish that was designed to make use of every part of its protein (in this case, a rabbit). It was brought to America in the 17th and 18th centuries by German colonists who settled in the Philadelphia area.

In 1863, the first mass-produced version of scrapple arrived via Habbersett, which is still making the product today. They haven’t tweaked the recipe much in the past 150-plus years, though they do offer a beef version as well.

3. If your scrapple is gray, you're a-ok.

A dull gray isn’t normally the most appetizing color you’d want in a meat product, but that’s the color a proper piece of scrapple should be. (It is typically pork bits, after all.)

4. Scrapple can be topped with all kinds of goodies.

Though there’s no rule that says you can’t enjoy a delicious piece of scrapple at any time of day, it’s considered a breakfast meat. As such, it’s often served with (or over) eggs but can be topped with all sorts of condiments; while some people stick with ketchup or jelly, others go wild with applesauce, mustard, maple syrup, and honey to make the most of the sweet-and-salty flavor combo. There’s also nothing wrong with being a scrapple purist and eating it as is.

5. Dogfish Head made a scrapple beer.

The master brewers at Delaware’s Dogfish Head have never been afraid to get experimental with their flavors. In 2014, they created a Beer for Breakfast Stout that was brewed with Rapa pork scrapple. A representative for the scrapple brand called the collaboration a "unique proposition." Indeed.

6. Delaware holds an annual scrapple festival each October.

Speaking of Delaware: It’s also home to the country’s oldest—and largest—annual scrapple festival. Originating in 1992, the Apple Scrapple Festival in Bridgeville, Delaware is a yearly celebration of all things pig parts, which includes events like a ladies skillet toss and a scrapple chunkin’ contest. More than 25,000 attendees make the trek annually.

What's the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes?

Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock via Getty Images
Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock via Getty Images

This Thanksgiving, families across the country will enjoy a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes ... or are they yams? Discussions on the proper name for the orange starchy stuff on your table can get more heated than arguments about topping them with marshmallows. But there's an easy way to tell the difference between sweet potatoes and yams: If you picked up the tuber from a typical American grocery store, it's probably a sweet potato.

So what's a sweet potato?

Sweet potato and yam aren't just different names for the same thing: The two produce items belong to their own separate botanical categories. Sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory family. Regular potatoes like russets, meanwhile, are considered part of the nightshade family, which means that sweet potatoes aren't actually potatoes at all.

Almost all of the foods most Americans think of as yams are really sweet potatoes. The root vegetable typically has brown or reddish skin with a starchy inside that's orange (though it can also be white or purple). It's sold in most supermarkets in the country and used to make sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie, and the sweet potato casserole you have at Thanksgiving.

Then what's a yam?

Yams.
Yams.
bonchan/iStock via Getty Images

Yams are a different beast altogether. They are more closely related to lilies and grasses and mostly grow in tropical environments. The skin is more rough and bark-like than what you'd see on a sweet potato, and the inside is usually white or yellowish—not orange.

They're a common ingredient in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Because the inside of a yam is less moist than the inside of a sweet potato, they require more fat to make them soft and creamy. They're also less sweet than their orange-hued counterparts. In many regions in the U.S., yams aren't sold outside of international grocery stores.

Where did the mix-up come from?

Also sweet potatoes.
Also sweet potatoes.
Kateryna Bibro/iStock via Getty Images

So if yams and sweet potatoes are two totally different vegetables that don't look or taste that similar, why are their names used interchangeably in the U.S.? You can blame the food industry. For years, "firm" sweet potatoes, which have brown skin and whitish flesh, were the only sweet potatoes grown in the U.S. In the early 20th century, "soft" sweet potatoes, which have reddish skin and deep-orange flesh, entered the scene. Farmers needed a way to distinguish the two varieties, so soft sweet potatoes became yams.

Nearly a century later, the misnomer shows no signs of disappearing. Many American supermarkets still call their orange-fleshed sweet potatoes yams and their white-fleshed ones sweet potatoes, even though both items are sweet potatoes. But this isn't a strict rule, and stores often swap the names and make things even more confusing for shoppers. So the next time you're shopping for a recipe that calls for sweet potatoes, learn to identify them by sight rather than the name on the label.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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