Sandwiches are, for the most part, exceedingly straightforward. When you’re working with sliced bread, you’re often better off restraining your more creative instincts. Most people are happy to get a few rashers of bacon and a thin layer of butter. With the sandwich, less is almost always more.
There are times, however, when chefs feel the need to rewrite the rulebook. Tossing everything that we know about classical sandwich making out the window, some restaurants have decided to push the humble snack to new levels of decadence. Who needs ham and cheese when you could have gold leaf? Gathered from global kitchens that clearly have more money than sense, here are the world’s seven most ridiculously expensive sandwiches.
7. McDonald Sandwich - $111
Unlike his fast food namesake, chef Scott McDonald was determined that his sandwich would be all about quality. Commissioned to make a new luxury menu item for Selfridges in London in 2006, McDonald decided to add layers of wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffle mayonnaise, brie de meaux, arugula, red pepper, mustard confit and English plum tomatoes between layers of fresh sourdough. Despite the eclectic ingredients, contemporary reports almost unanimously agreed that the sandwich was delicious.
6. Fourteen’s Bacon and Egg Roll - $120
Bacon and egg is a classic breakfast sandwich combination. Though it might be a favourite cheap eat of early risers, Fourteen Restaurant in Australia decided that the dish needed a makeover. In 2013, chef Carla Jones unleashed a new version, complete with a pan-fried duck egg, semi-dried and smoked tomatoes, duck foie gras, caviar, creme fraiche, shaved truffles and English cheddar, squeezed between a handmade brioche bun. It might not be cheap, but it will probably make you cheerful.
5. Von Essen Platinum Club Sandwich - $150
You can get a decent club sandwich almost anywhere in the world. However, there’s only one place that has dared to charge the price of a Michelin starred meal for the privelege. The Cliveden restaurant’s Von Essen sandwich comes complete with quails eggs, truffle, iberico ham and poulet de Bresse. With a calorie count of over 1,250, this sandwich is decadent in every sense.
4. Blunos’ Cheese Sandwich - $170
It takes a lot to turn cheddar into a $170 worthy ingredient. With a bit of cooking wizardry, Martin Blunos has found a way. Using a special cheese blended with white truffles, extra virgin olive oil, fresh figs and a sprinkle of gold dust, Blunos presented the creation to a select few at the Frome cheese festival in 2010.
3. Bacon Bling Sandwich - $211
To many, bacon is perfect just the way it is. That, however, hasn’t stopped several chefs from trying to turn it into something utterly ridiculous. With an ingredients list that includes shaved truffle, truffle spread, truffle oil, saffron, duck egg and edible gold, the Bacon Bling Sandwich went on sale at Tangberry’s Coffeehouse in Cheltenham in 2013.
2. Quintessential Grilled Cheese - $214
At its best, grilled cheese is a gooey, greasy indulgence that leaves you with sticky fingers and a pig grin. At its most decadent, it can also leave you with a colossal bill. At Serendipity 3 in New York, chefs have combined champagne infused bread, gold leaf, white truffle spread and melted shavings of ultra-rare Caciocavallo Podolico cheese to make a cheese toastie that needs it’s own mortgage.
1. The Virgin Mary - $28,000
Sometimes, value doesn’t have anything to do with ingredients. The most expensive sandwich ever sold didn’t come with truffle or gold, but was a simple serving of cheese and toast. It was what was emblazoned on the burnt crust that made all the difference. Owner Diane Muyser of Miami, USA, believed that she could see a vision of the Virgin Mary. This prompted her to try to sell the sandwich over Ebay, at which point she netted a cool $28,000. Not bad for a stale piece of toast.
There’s not a lot of logic that goes into buying an ultra expensive sandwich. As anyone who’s ever had a banh mi or a BLT will be quick to point out, you don’t need tonnes of truffle to make bread taste awesome. But, as this collection clearly prove, there’s something about a ridiculously priced sandwich that we find irresistible.