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The world’s most expensive sandwich is a gold-covered grilled cheese


When it comes to Guinness World Records, not all are created equal.

Sometimes they’re handed out to people who are really large or dogs that are really small. Other times, recipients need to venture to outer space to qualify.

But some Guinness World Records just require a lot of cheese, a lot of butter and a little bit of gold.

Since 2014, New York City’s Serendipity3 has laid claim to the Guinness World Record for the world’s most expensive sandwich: a grilled cheese that costs a whopping $214.

Orders for the high-priced “Quintessential Grilled Cheese” normally need to be placed 48 hours in advance, but this Wednesday Serendipity3 will be serving its record-holder all day.

I stopped by Serendipity3 this week to try it try it out and see if there’s more to the sandwich than just the price tag.

The sandwich is served on made-to-order French bread which is made with Dom Perignon champagne and has edible gold flakes baked into it.

Each sandwich gets roughly a half pound of the rare caciocavallo podolico cheese, which retails for upwards of $50 per pound. That’s because there are only 25,000 cows whose milk is used to make this cheese, and they lactate for only two months a year.

Is this level of decadence necessary? Not at all. Is it good? Absolutely.

The bread is slathered with white truffle butter and brushed with white truffle oil — which has gold flakes mixed into it — before being grilled.

“When we receive an inquiry we reach out to our sources right away and see if we can have these ingredients flown in,” Serendipity3 creative director Joe Calderone tells CNBC Make It. “We have our baker on board to bake the loaf, so we get the wheels in motion right away.”

When the sandwich is ready to be served, it is cut diagonally and each half gets a layer of edible gold on its cross section.

But it doesn’t end there. Instead of tomato soup, the sandwich is served with a South African lobster tomato bisque on the side for dipping.

Let’s be real here: the price of this sandwich is more than I’ve spent on the ingredients for every grilled cheese I’ve eaten over the past 28 years of my life.

Is this level of decadence necessary? Not at all. Is it good? Absolutely.

The gold leaf doesn’t add anything in terms of flavor, but it’s a fun, over-the-top novelty addition at a restaurant where everything from the menu to the décor is over-the-top.

The bread is great too, but it’s the cheese itself that’s the star of the show.

Caciocavallo podolico tastes like parmesan and manchego had a baby, but it melts like a munster. It instantly makes sense as the cheese of choice for the most expensive grilled cheese money can buy.

But still, it’s a lot of money for a grilled cheese.

Could I justify spending $214 for a food I could make at home for less than a tenth of the price? I don’t think any amount of gold leaf could get me to answer “yes” to that question.

But for someone with plenty of disposable income who wants to try a one-of-a-kind sandwich, the Guinness World Record-holding grilled cheese is hard to beat.

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