Fugue Fish, Japan
The Japanese fugue ﬁsh - also known as blowﬁsh or pufferﬁsh - contains a powerful poison over 1,200 times stronger than cyanide that, if wrongly prepared, can cause instant death. With over 100 different species, many with varying poisonous parts, only licensed chefs are allowed to prepare and cook fugue. Specially trained chefs undergo years of training and written exams; to qualify, they also have to eat fugue that they have prepared themselves. There is a process of approximately 30 steps to prepare fugue, and it is usually served raw in paper-thin slices, with a minute yet safe amount of the poison left in the ﬂesh. This creates a tantalising sensation for the diner - numbing and tingling of the lips, perhaps even an awareness of the respiratory system - enhancing the adrenaline-fuelled experience of dicing with sudden death. Restaurants that are allowed to serve fugue, called fugu ryotei, are recognisable by the blowﬁsh lantern hanging outside.
White Truffle, Italy
This rare, uncultivable mushroom grows underground in Piedmont and is sought out by professional trufﬂe hunters with dogs. The prized treasures - also called white gold - are sold at auction.
Kobe Beef, Japan
This is the highly prized and highly marbled beef from the Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle. It is rumoured that the animals drink beer and receive massages.
Kopi Luwak Coffee, Indonesia
This unusual coffee is made from excreted beans found in Sumatra. Coffee berries are eaten by Indonesian civet cats (known as 'luwaks'). The still intact, digested beans are gathered from the forest ﬂoor, cleaned and roasted.
La Bonotte Potato, France
These nutty ﬂavoured potatoes are so delicate that they are gathered by hand. Only found on Noirmoutier Island, they beneﬁt from the sea water and native salt plains.