The folks at Guinness World Record say the "most valuable chocolate" record was set in 2001, when an anonymous buyer at a Christie's auction paid $687 for a 4-inch-long Cadbury's bar. The bar had traveled with Captain Robert Scott on his first expedition to the Antarctic in the early 1900s.
But what about now? Forgetting pageantry and auctions (where clearly it is not the chocolate that is of value), who is the king of confectionery opulence on the open market today?
The world loves chocolate. We eat nearly 8 million tons of it every year. Most of it is “commodity” chocolate mass-produced, of often mediocre quality, and priced to be easily affordable to just about everybody. A growing percent of chocolates are “artisan” chocolates. High quality made (often in small batches and by hand) from the finest ingredients. These chocolates are designed, packaged, and priced for a more discerning audience.
And then there are the luxury chocolates. Now, there are plenty of high-quality, yet affordable, lux chocolates available but some brands set out to push the boundaries making products that seem more designed for sticker-shock value than culinary delight. These are the chocolates we will talk about next…
A 1.8-ounce To'ak chocolate bar costs over $300, making it one of the most expensive chocolate bars in the world. So. What might make chocolate bar worth that much to anyone?
Scarcity (and a darned good back-story) would be the answer. As the story goes… a Chicagoan named Jerry Toth had a dream of the world viewing chocolate as art, instead of a dessert. Along with two Ecuadorians (Carl and Dennise), he decided to track down the oldest and rarest variety of chocolate in the world, eventually stumbling onto the valley of Piedra de Plata. There they found, 100% pure Nacional cacao trees growing. This variety of cocoa bean is so rare that it was thought to be extinct, having mostly been interbred with other cocoa varieties. This is the cocoa bean that is used in making a To’ak bar.
The origin story continues in that after fermentation, this luxury chocolate is dried, roasted, shelled, and ground by hand (presumably by unicorns, whilst being massaged with 100-year-old bourbon by sprites). It reportedly took them 2 years to make 574 bars, which are sold in individual wooden boxes filled with cacao bean husks and numbered by harvest.
“La Madeline au Truffle”
What happens when you take a 70% Valrhona dark chocolate ganache made with truffle oil and enrobe a fresh French Périgord truffle with it, then coat the whole thing with more dark chocolate and roll the entire confection in fine cocoa powder? You get a REAL luxury chocolate truffle!
This one-bite truffle is presented in a gold box on a bed of sugar pearls. Due to the perishability of the truffle (the one inside) it must be consumed within 7 weeks or it will be spoiled. And the price? About $250 EACH!
DeLafée of Switzerland
“Gold Swiss Chocolate Box with Swiss Antique Collectible Gold Coin”
When giving exquisite quality chocolate alone is just not decadent enough, how about a box containing eight Swiss chocolate balls coated in 24 Karat edible gold with a collectible gold coin included as a souvenir? The antique coins were minted (personally I prefer my chocolate minted!) from 1910-1920. Granted, the price of this box of chocolates is more in the coin than the chocolates but at $440 it still makes the list.
Epic Fine Chocolates
“Exquisite Handmade Chocolates with NO Funny Ingredients!”
Looking for luxury confections without the price tag? Look no further! Instead of wrapping our chocolates in gold or making them with Périgord truffles (does that even sound tasty?), we concentrate our efforts on quality ingredients, thoughtfully curated, skillfully combined, and lovingly packaged. No, we are never going to make anybody’s “most expensive list”, but that’s not our goal. We’re just happy to be the best.