Uber-chefs, gourmets, cashed up bogans, credulous restaurant reviewers &c, are forever banging on about certain de luxe menu items. I contend that this is not because taste is the main consideration but is mainly due to factors of rarity, fashion and the ability to indulge in conspicuous consumption.
Here are the top five we’ve tasted over the years – without excitement.
Caviar: salty, fishy tasting sturgeon eggs of uncertain age and erratic quality.
Buffalo mozzarella: excellent texture, usually tasteless, has to be all dressed up “like a pox doctor’s clerk” to serve.
Black truffles: earthy variation on the mushroom. Serves are so small you never get a good idea of the real taste.
Game of all sorts: especially hare. Usually stringy sinewy, rank smelling. Inedible unless hung to the point of nausea and the taste disguised by sauces and gravies.
Chevre / goats’ milk cheese. A trick or treat offering – sometimes brilliant. More often tainted or whiffy – as if a billy goat had done the impossible and produced milk.
Oh, and not forgetting a sixth: Foam. You know, a dollop of insubstantial froth and bubble looking like frog spawn and tasting, well, of nothing. Main feature it seems of “molecular gastronomy”. Otherwise known as the Emperor’s Nouvelle Cuisine.