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5 of the Most Expensive Pizzas Ever Made

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 you crying into your wallet. This week, to coincide with International Margarita Day (which is tomorrow—mark your calendars), New York City’s Bodega Negra has partnered with Patrón to create the Platinum Margarita Margherita Pizza, a $500 pie covered in glazed lobster, mango, Osetra caviar, black truffles, and avocado. But there’s a big difference between a $40 gourmet pie—and a $12,000 one. Beware: Truffles ahead!

1. THE PIZZA ROYALE 007

The Pizza Royale 007 has only been made once—in 2007—and it’s easy to understand why. Created 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 $2700) 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, medallions of venison, 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. GORDON RAMSAY’S MAZE PIZZA

While the basic cost of Gordon Ramsay’s £100 ($125) pizza—which is covered with white truffle paste, fontina cheese, pancetta, cep mushrooms, onion puree, and mizuna lettuce and sold at the foul-mouthed chef’s Maze restaurant in London’s Grosvenor Square—doesn’t come close to the price tag of the 007, the final tally can rise, based on your taste for truffles. What makes this particular pizza so expensive is that it’s topped with a very rare Italian white truffle and, as it’s shaved onto your pizza at the table, it’s up to you to say “enough.” If you don’t, and the chef continues shaving the entire truffle onto your cheesy dough disc, the bill could come to a pretty eye-watering total, as the truffle’s worth up to about $2500 per kilogram. The pizza holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Expensive Pizza Commercially Available.”

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

Yet another shuttered pizzeria, back in 2012, the main event at Nino’s Bellissima Pizzeria in New York City was “The One Percenter,” a $1000 pizza that earned its price tag because of the $820 worth of caviar—six different types of it—plopped on top of it. (The same pizza was made available in 2007, but was then known as “The Luxury Pizza.”) Dollops of first-class fish eggs Beluga and Black Russian Royal Sevruga are 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. 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?

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How Do You Stress the Word: THANKSgiving or ThanksGIVing?
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iStock

Here’s something else to stress about for Thanksgiving: where to put the stress in the word Thanksgiving.

If you’re from California, Iowa, or Delaware, you probably say ThanksGIVing, with the primary stress on the second syllable. If you’re from Georgia, Tennessee, or the Texas Panhandle, you probably say THANKSgiving, with the primary stress on the first syllable.

This north-south divide on syllable stress is found for other words like umbrella, guitar, insurance, and pecan. However, those words are borrowed from other languages (Italian, Spanish, French). Sometimes, in the borrowing process, competing stress patterns settle into regional differences. Just as some borrowed words get first syllable stress in the South and second syllable stress in the North, French words like garage and ballet get first syllable stress in the UK and second syllable stress in the U.S.

Thanksgiving, however, is an English word through and through. And if it behaved like a normal English word, it would have stress on the first syllable. Consider other words with the same noun-gerund structure just like it: SEAfaring, BAbysitting, HANDwriting, BULLfighting, BIRDwatching, HOMEcoming, ALMSgiving. The stress is always up front, on the noun. Why, in Thanksgiving alone, would stress shift to the GIVE?

The shift to the ThanksGIVing pronunciation is a bit of a mystery. Linguist John McWhorter has suggested that the loss of the stress on thanks has to do with a change in our concept of the holiday, that we “don’t truly think about Thanksgiving as being about thankfulness anymore.” This kind of thing can happen when a word takes on a new, more abstract sense. When we use outgoing for mail that is literally going out, we are likely to stress the OUT. When we use it as a description of someone’s personality ("She's so outgoing!"), the stress might show up on the GO. Stress can shift with meaning.

But the stress shift might not be solely connected to the entrenchment of our turkey-eating rituals. The thanksGIVing stress pattern seems to have pre-dated the institution of the American holiday, according to an analysis of the meter of English poems by Mark Liberman at Language Log. ThanksGIVing has been around at least since the 17th century. However you say it, there is precedent to back you up. And room enough to focus on both the thanks and the giving.

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Watch Boris Karloff's 1966 Coffee Commercial
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TAKWest, Youtube

Horror legend Boris Karloff is famous for playing mummies, mad scientists, and of course, Frankenstein’s creation. In 1930, Karloff cemented the modern image of the monster—with its rectangular forehead, bolted neck, and enormous boots (allegedly weighing in at 11 pounds each)—in the minds of audiences.

But the horror icon, who was born 130 years ago today, also had a sense of humor. The actor appeared in numerous comedies, and even famously played a Boris Karloff look-alike (who’s offended when he’s mistaken for Karloff) in the original Broadway production of Arsenic and Old Lace

In the ’60s, Karloff also put his comedic chops to work in a commercial for Butter-Nut Coffee. The strange commercial, set in a spooky mansion, plays out like a movie scene, in which Karloff and the viewer are co-stars. Subtitles on the bottom of the screen feed the viewer lines, and Karloff responds accordingly. 

Watch the commercial below to see the British star selling coffee—and read your lines aloud to feel like you’re “acting” alongside Karloff. 

[h/t: Retroist]

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