08 November 2007

Conspicuous consumption

Headlined news on BBC World (video clip):

Luxury dessert breaks record: A $25,000 chocolate and gold leaf dessert has made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most expensive pudding.
And this is newsworthy how?

I've never really got the point of gold leaf on/in food. My frolleague Adam and I were served up gold leaf - well, gold fleck - on some pastry thing in the summer. It's perfectly tasteless - in both a gustatory sense and in the Donald Trump sense. Here are some blogged details (from Gothamist) about this most recent example of the obscene appetites of the absolutely wealthy.

Nor is this an isolated display. Forbes Traveler offers up its own listing/presentation of the world's most expensive desserts, including this (left) little $48 bargain from the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai. For a more egalitarian-elite display, there's always the world's tallest chocolate fountain at Bellagio, Las Vegas - described in these purple terms in a hotel press release:
From far down Bellagio’s promenade, a mesmerizing figure entices curious guests with visual splendor and aromatic wafts: jutting out into the main corridor like the prow of a ship is a glass-enclosed, floor-to-ceiling chocolate fountain emerging from Jean Philippe P√Ętisserie. Displaying a spectacular series of melted chocolate cascades, this first-of-its-kind spectacle is the tallest chocolate fountain in the world.
At the risk of sounding repetitive/obvious, remind me again about the hunger facts:
  • in developing countries nearly 11 million children die every year from preventable and treatable causes - 60% of these deaths are from hunger and malnutrition.
  • in the United States, 12.4 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet.
Got it.

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