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?

Cook a Game of Thrones-Inspired Feast With This Video Tutorial

Kristofer Hivju, Kit Harington, and Emilia Clarke celebrate in Game of Thrones
Kristofer Hivju, Kit Harington, and Emilia Clarke celebrate in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Tonight marks the series finale of Game of Thrones. Hosting a watch party? Consider skipping the chips and dip, and try whipping up a dish inspired by the show. In the video below, first spotted by Laughing Squid, Binging With Babish host Andrew Rea provides recipes for three foods featured in the fantasy series: Purple Wedding pigeon pie, Dothraki blood pie, and Sansa Stark’s lemon cake.

For the uninitiated, Binging With Babish is a YouTube tutorial channel that features Rea cooking—and in some cases, improving on—foods from popular movies and television shows. Game of Thrones's characters are likely better on the battlefield than they are in the kitchen, so Rea takes a few culinary liberties while recreating Medieval and Dothraki fare: His “pigeon pie” is made with squab, and the blood pie, in Rea’s own words, is “essentially a black pudding in pie form” that’s garnished with figs, goat cheese, and black sea salt.

Updated for 2019.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Wine

iStock/MarkSwallow
iStock/MarkSwallow

Between the vine and the liquor store, plenty of secrets are submerged in your favorite bottle of wine. Here, Tilar J. Mazzeo, author of Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma, spills some of the best. Here are a few things you might not know about wine.

1. Digital eyes are everywhere in today's vineyards.

Certain premium estates in Bordeaux and Napa are beginning to look a little more like army bases—or an Amazon.com warehouse. They’re using drones, optical scanners, and heat-sensing satellites to keep a digital eye on things. Some airborne drones collect data that helps winemakers decide on the optimal time to harvest and evaluate where they can use less fertilizer. Others rove through the vineyard rows, where they may soon be able to take over pruning. Of course, these are major investments. 

2. Modern vineyards also bury a lot of cow skulls. 

They’re not everywhere, but biodynamic farming techniques are on the rise among vintners who don’t want to rely on chemicals, and this is one trick they’ve been known to use to combat plant diseases and improve soil PH. It’s called Preparation No. 505, and it involves taking a cow’s skull (or a sheep’s or a goat’s), stuffing it with finely ground oak chips, and burying it in a wet spot for a season or two before adding it to the vineyard compost.

3. Ferocious foliage is a vintner's secret weapon.

The mustard flowers blooming between vineyard rows aren’t just for romance. Glucosinolates in plants like radishes and mustard give them their spicy bite, and through the wonders of organic chemistry, those glucosinolates also double as powerful pesticides. Winemakers use them to combat nematodes—tiny worms that can destroy grape crops.

4. Roses in a vineyard are the wine country equivalent to the canary in the coal mine. 

Vintners plant roses among their vines because the flowers get sick before anything else in the field. If there’s mildew in the air, it will infect the roses first and give a winemaker a heads-up that it’s time to spray.

5. Birds of prey help protect the grapes.

Glasses of red wine and charcuterie
iStock/Natalia Van Doninck

Small birds like blackbirds and starlings can clear out 20 percent of a crop in no time. But you know what eats little birds? Big birds. Falconry programs are on the rise in vineyards from California to New Zealand. Researchers have found that raptors eat a bird or two a day (along with a proportion of field mice and other critters) and cost only about as much to maintain as your average house cat.

6. Small bugs become big problems in wine tasting rooms.

Winemakers are constantly seeking ways to manage the swarms of Drosophila melanogaster that routinely gather around the dump buckets in their swanky showrooms. You know these pests as fruit flies, and some vintners in California are exploring ways to use carnivorous plants to tackle the problem without pesticides. Butterworts, sundews, and pitcher plants all have sweet-sounding names, but the bug-eating predators are fruit fly assassins, and you’ll see them decorating tasting rooms across wine country.

7. Wine needs to be filtered. 

Winemaking produces hard-to-remove sediments. Filters can catch most of the debris, but winemakers must add “fining agents” to remove any suspended solids that sneak by. (Unwanted compounds in the wine bind with the fining agents so they can be filtered and removed.) Until it was banned in the 1990s, many European vintners used powdered ox blood to clean their wines. Today, they use diatomaceous earth (the fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae), Isinglass (a collagen made from fish swim bladders), and sometimes bentonite (volcanic clay). Irish moss and egg whites are also fine wine cleaners.

8. Wine is ever so slightly radioactive (that's a good thing).

About 5 percent of the premium wine sold for cellaring doesn’t contain what the label promises. So how do top-shelf buyers avoid plunking down serious cash on a bottle of something bunk? Most elite wine brokerages, auction houses, and collectors use atomic dating to detect fraud. By measuring trace radioactive carbon in the wine, most bottles can be dated to within a year or two of the vintage.

9. MRIs can determine the fine from the funk.

Even with atomic dating, there are certain perils involved in buying a $20,000 bottle of wine. Leaving a case in the hot trunk of your car is enough to ruin it, so imagine what can happen over a couple of decades if a wine isn’t kept in the proper conditions. Back in 2002, a chemistry professor at University of California at Davis patented a technique that uses MRI technology to diagnose the condition of vintage wines. This technique may soon be used at airport security, meaning you’ll be able to carry on your booze.

10. Wines can be aged instantly.

If you end up with a bottle of plonk, Chinese scientists have developed a handy solution. Zapping a young wine with electricity makes it taste like something you’ve cellar aged. Scientists aren’t quite sure how it happens yet, but it seems that running your wine for precisely three minutes through an electric field changes the esters, proteins, and aldehydes and can “age” a wine instantly.

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