Spices are aromatic or savoury vegetables used to flavour food. And there are thousands of spices, but there are the most expensive spices in the world like saffron.
Before 3000BC, spices were used by Egyptians to embalm dead bodies, especially Noble men because of their conservative properties. In the Middle Ages, spices became highly valuable because of their medicinal and preservative properties. Spices were gold.
The Romans saw the real worth of species in the 200BC-1400AD. So they underwent risky voyages to Egypt and India just to get spices like Cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger. In this era, the most expensive species came from China, India, and the Indonesian islands. In some kingdoms, spices were used as exchange currencies.
Now due to the widespread easy accessibility to some species, we do not value them that much. But there are still exceptions, not all species are common and easily accessed because they grow only in specific climatic conditions thereby making them expensive.
10 Most Expensive Spices In The World
Now let’s move to the reason you stopped by, the 10 most expensive species in the world. This list is arranged according to the market cost of these spices from the most expensive to the 10th most expensive spices in the world presently.
So sit back and enjoy the beauty of knowledge, here are the 10 most expensive species in the world today.
We won’t dare to begin this list without the boss of them all, Saffron. Saffron is the most expensive species in the world as 1kg cost $10000. What!!! Yeah is unimaginable.
Gotten from the Crocus Sativus flower in Eurasia, saffron is used largely in traditional middle eastern, Indian and Western European cuisines. The best quality and largest quantity of saffron is produced in France and Iran.
Okay back to the subject of $10000 per Kg. Saffron is like gold. The cause of expensive cost of saffron is because of its delicate floral flowers, high labour intensity, the uniqueness of its flowers, and that it blossoms only twice a year.
The Saffron we sell is not the complete flower but the stigma of the flower. But what makes the production difficult and labour intensive is that these flowers on have 3 stigmas each. And more difficult is that they only blossom twice a year. To produce 1kg of Saffron you will need to remove the stigmas of almost 200000 Crocus flowers.
Nevertheless, there is a worthy compensation. The spice taste is the pain and cost reliever. Saffron has a floral natural taste that is fresh and unique. Just a pinch of Saffron can turn a little kitchen into a world-class restaurant. As they say, Saffron taste is worth its price.
2. Fennel Pollen
Familiar with the Italians and people who eat or cook Italian dishes like Italian sausages is Fennel Pollen. Fennel Pollen is the second most expensive spice in the world as it cost a thousand dollars for a kg.
Hope this wasn’t another surprise bomb. Yes, Fennel Pollen cost $1000 per Kg, reasons because the fennel flowers are rare and harvesting in large quantities is pretty difficult.
Gotten from the Fennel plant (Foeniculum vulgar), fennel pollen is the most important part although other of its parts are valuable and used in many pan-cultural cuisines.
For a growing restaurant that desires a tasting step up, fennel pollen won’t be a blunder, all chess lovers wave to this. But the only issue is that you must have at least 30 dollars to get as little as 28g. I know Nigerians in the house will be shouting in their native languages now due to the devaluation of the naira.
Also, fennel pollens are medically beneficial as they serve as remedies for digestive discomforts, system purifiers, and natural detoxifiers thereby helping in weight loss. I believe models reading this will be smiling now.
Vanilla! Vanilla!! Vanilla!!! Oh ever sweet vanilla, my ice cream can never recover if you are out of the picture. Okay, enough of being poetic vanilla is the third most expensive spice in the world presently. In my little poem, I omitted to add “oh expensive and rare vanilla”.
Everyone reading would swear that he had taken a vanilla spiced food before but surprisingly, what most of us eat isn’t real vanilla at all. Most of the affordable snacks with vanilla flavour are not really made with pure vanilla instead it’s vanillin, an imitation compound that tastes like vanilla. Swoosh, I’m sorry hope this truth wasn’t bitter. I also felt pain when I discovered this truth.
Madagascar produces 100% pure vanilla and is the best producer of vanilla all over the world although Mexico and Tahiti also produce vanilla but Madagascar’s vanilla tops the chart. Although research says that African Vanilla will be a high treat to Madagascar vanilla.
Oh, the price. A kilogram of Pure Vanilla costs 600 dollars, meaning that if you want to buy vanilla as little as 28grams you will pay $20. My friend, this is gold.
But why is Vanilla this expensive? vanilla is expensive because the bean pods have to be pollinated by hand and supervised consistently and because of cyclone infestation.
Mahleb or Mahlab or Mahelepi is a hot commodity among the Europeans and Arabian traders. A kilogram of Mahleb costs $160, costly enough to buy the most expensive houses in Eastern Caribbean India.
Mahleb was initially cultivated for perfumes. But now it is used in making most Mediterranean dishes because of its cherry and almonds flavour. Most of the time due to flavour, it is confused for marzipan.
Known for its sweet, slightly bitter taste and fragrant smell, Mahleb is gotten from the seed kernel of St. Lucie cherry fruit. Mahleb is cultivated in Central and Southern European, Asia, and specified areas in the Near East.
The reason why the cost of Mahleb is high is not because of foreign exchange instead it’s because of the rareness of the cherry trees.
5. Long Pepper
Long pepper also known as pippali is the fifth among the most expensive spices in the world. With many similarities to black pepper, long pepper is mostly used in Nepal, Parts of Europe, and Pakistan. Presently a kilogram of Long Pepper costs $90, this is due to its scarce nature.
It is grown mostly in India, Malaysia, and Nepal. There are two varieties of long pepper, and neither of them is found outside of India and Indonesia.
6. Black Cumin seed
Very Similar to the Nigella seed (Cuminum cyminum), black cumin seeds are small, thin, and dark. They are sweeter and have an orange taste. This quality of flavour makes them a good addition to meat dishes.
Black cumin is a native of Egypt, Iran, and North India. They are used also in their cultural dishes. A kilogram of Black cumin seeds costs $80 about 40 dollars higher than Nigella seed. The largest black cumin exporters are Egypt, Morocco, India, and Iran.
7. Kaffir Lime Leaves
Next on the list of our 10 most expensive spices in the world, we have Kaffir Lime Leaves. Also known as Indonesian lime, Kaffir lime is a variety of like grown in California, the U.S (Florida), and Australia.
The recent record says that Bangladesh, India, Thailand, and even the Philippines also grow Kaffir Lime Seeds. A kilogram of Kaffir Lime Seeds costs $70.
8. Grains of Paradise
Nigerians will know this well if I call its common name, Alligator pepper. Grains of Paradise is one of the most expensive spices in the world. It is known in African cuisines but is getting into the limelight in other countries.
Grains of paradise are very appetizing and also medicinal as it solves indigestion problems.
Grains of Paradise was so popular in the 14th century that West Africa then was called Melegueta Coast, after the Latin name of the plant – Aframomum melegueta. As of today, a person won’t be able to get a kilogram of Grains of Paradise for $65.
The small cardamom pods cost about $ 60 per Kg, due to their difficult harvesting process. It’s certainly not as expensive as saffron or vanilla, but for spice, the price is still quite high.
The plant is a native of southwest India. Guatemala is the world’s biggest exporter and producer of cardamom, closely followed by India. Black cardamom is larger and tends to have a smoked flavour, used for foods like curry and biryani.
10. Pasilla de Oaxaca Chiles
The last on our list of most expensive spices in the world are Pasilla de Oaxaca Chiles. Named after the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Like many of the chiles gotten from this region, it’s indicated by a medium-high level of heat and a noticeable smokiness. But this particular chile is the champion chile.
For a person to be able to purchase a kilogram of Pasilla de Oaxaca Chiles, he or she has at least $60.
There are Spices and there are big brother spices. Through this article, we have gone through the 10 most expensive spices in the world. The prices are real and can be trusted.
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