Sunday, November 1, 2015

"When Luxury Turns Lewd and Laughable"

From Penta:
Enough already. We’re tired of tasteless luxury pitches that patronizingly assume that the wealthy are too dim to know when they are being conned. For this reason, Penta will periodically profile products or services targeted at the very rich that, at times, are so egregious they border on scams. Penta is all in favor of celebrating the joys of life – but never conspicuous consumption as a front for going mildly insane. Penta is all about finding good value for money. These products don’t qualify.

The $1,000 ice cream sundae. The Golden Opulence Sundae, served at New York’s Serendipity 3 restaurant, is bedecked with a golden leaf and eaten with a nacre spoon. Serendipity tells us that that the Golden Opulence Sundae’s customers range from parents celebrating their daughter’s law school graduation to Saudi princes.

The dessert was initially created for the restaurant’s 50th Golden Anniversary back in 2004, and the parlor claims it receives one to two calls a month for the dessert that requires a 48-hour advance notice to prepare. That suggests the sweet-tooth hangout is ringing in some $20,000 annually from the gold-bedecked dish.

This over-the-top sundae is actually a more modest version of Serendipity’s Frrrozen Haute Chocolate ice cream sundae, which it launched a few years ago and cost $25,000. The ice cream made of the rarest cocoa sat atop a diamond, which made it the most expensive dessert in the world, according to the Guinness World Records. The dish was eventually dropped when Serendipity couldn’t find anyone actually foolish enough to order it.

The $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae is served in a crystal goblet you get to take home. “You could drive a Chevrolet or a Maserati, but what are you going to enjoy more? It’s the intrigue of having the most expensive menu item,” claims Joe Calderone, Serendipity’s head   chef.                  
Well, not all of us are as titillated by the thought of overspending on a commodity item. For a quarter of the cost, we suggest picking up a $200 goblet from, say, Furstenberg or Feu de Beaumont, and then filling it with a $31 pint of Cappanari’s award-winning Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache ice cream.

The $40,000 a night villa. Laucala Island Resort’s Hilltop Estate is one of the many villas found on the island in Fiji. It offers 13,130 square feet of living space with its landscaped pool, private cook, chauffeur, and nanny. The owner of the island, Red Bull king Dietrich Mateschitz, according to The Wall Street Journal, handpicks his guests....MORE