It’s not easy to find something that tastes like a million bucks. But what about 880,000 yen, or around S$8,600? That’s how much it costs for a single 130ml serving of Byakuya – meaning white night in Japanese – ice cream made ultra-luxe with top-shelf ingredients like white truffles, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and gold leaf.
The creation of premium Japanese ice cream brand Cellato was earlier this month crowned the most expensive on the globe by Guinness World Records.
According to Guinness World Records, the brand hired Tadayoshi Yamada, the head chef of Osakan fusion restaurant Rivi, to make their dream of making the world’s priciest ice cream a reality.
“It took us over 1.5 years to develop, with a lot of trials and errors to get the taste right. Achieving a Guinness World Records title made the effort all worth it,” said a Cellato representative to Guinness World Records on the win.
Star ingredient: Alba white truffles
Its eye-watering $8,600 price tag can partly be attributed to its star ingredient, white truffles from Alba, Italy. The aromatic fungi are highly seasonal and difficult to find, with prized specimens fetching close to 2 million yen (almost S$20,000) per kg.
The rest of it goes to edible gold leaves, two types of cheese and sake lees, a pasty, faintly sweet by-product of sake production; some white truffle oil for drizzling; and an ornate metal spoon handcrafted by Kyoto craftsmen using techniques and materials featured in the region’s temples and shrines.
But how exactly does ice cream that costs almost as much as a first-class flight to Tokyo – and more than a dozen dinners at three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Zen – actually taste? According to Cellato’s website, it is “rich and mellow”, bolstered with a “sensual and unique scent” courtesy of that Albanese white truffle.
The company recommends pairing it with sweet sake (naturally), or “an aged white wine with a solid acidity”. It can also be taken with liquors like rum or grappa as a luxurious nightcap.
The ice cream is purchasable online primarily for domestic customers, though Cellato said that “it is possible to arrange individual shipments of ice cream to Singapore” for willing customers.
Other offerings by the Japanese brand include a relatively budget-friendly alternative in the form of Starry Night, a black truffle, chocolate and yuzu-tinted number for 10,000 yen (S$97) a serving.
Text: Alvin Lim/The Peak