New York Daily News - December 03, 2007
Extravagant gifts for your favorite foodie
With wine-washed goat cheeses and single-origin chocolates sold at the corner Key Food, holiday shopping for the blog-trawling, Michelin guide-reading, "Top-Chef"-watching food fanatic is more challenging than ever.
For these discerning eaters, a Dean & DeLuca gift basket just won't cut it.
But no worries: There are still plenty of rare epicurean finds that'll impress even the most jaded city foodie.
REALLY TOP SHELF
Hedge fund honchos eager to prove they're still standing after this tumultuous year might consider a new crop of bottles so absurdly priced they put super-premium on the bottom shelf. Partida Tequila's new Elegante extra anejo (anejo is typically aged at least a year) kicks things off with a relatively modest price tag of $350. Dos Lunas tequila's Grand Reserve, in a Baccarat crystal decanter, raises the price-per-bottle bar to $2,500. For the Cognac connoisseur, meanwhile, there's Hennessy's $4,000 Ellipse. Scotch men have a range of options, from Johnny Walker Blue's relatively modest King George V edition ($600) to the tycoon-worthy, Lalique-crystal-encased 55-year-old Macallan ($12,000). Last but certainly not least is Ardbeg's limited Double Barrel release, featuring two single-cask bottles from a barrel that's been aging since 1974 ($20,000).
HAMS YOU CAN'T HAVE (YET)
For years, the only way to get your hands on the world's priciest ham was to smuggle it home from Spain. Though the Department of Agriculture has given the green light for jamon iberico (the free-ranging pigs grow fat on acorns), the first haunches of the Holy Grail are just clearing customs. But the Web retailer La Tienda tienda.com is already taking orders for whole hams (a $200 deposit on a projected $800 total price) with a hopeful by-Christmas delivery date.
NOW THAT'S PRIME MEAT
Americans and Australians have been raising high-end Wagyu cattle for years (more commonly, and mistakenly, called Kobe), but it doesn't hold a candle to the real Japanese product, which was banned in this country until recently. DeBragga and Spittler, one of the last distributors still operating in the Meatpacking District, bring in wet-aged, Japanese Wagyu so richly marbled with fat it literally melts in your mouth. Through debragga.com, the company will ship their well-worth-the-splurge rib eyes ($159.95 for two 12-ounce steaks) and strip steaks ($179.95 for two).