A British chef has been offering what is being billed as the world's most expensive Christmas dinner - at $203,250. It's a one-of-a-kind four-course meal for four people, cooked by Ben Spalding (formerly of Per Se, now head chef at John Salt in London), and features $4,000 melons and a $60,000 bottle of Champagne.
Fully 80 percent of the proceeds will go to charity.
But in Britain, where class warfare and government austerity has led to a backlash against excess, the dinner has stirred controversy. And so far, there are no takers. (Read More: Towns With the Most Mega-Mansion Sales )
While some people "have salivated over the prospect, these are budget-conscious times and no one has yet committed," said Marcel Knobil, founder of VeryFirstTo, the website offering this so-called Ultimate Christmas Dinner.
And, in fact, Spalding has had to defend himself on Twitter against some outrage at the extravagance of the meal. While acknowledging it's a "hideous amount of money" and "anything costing that much is nuts," he tweeted "charity/ies will benefit from this massively if this sells. Only way I would agree to it x plus great fun." (Read More: Personal Services for the One Percent )
The menu, of course, includes caviar and truffles. There's $10,000 worth of edible gold leaf, and that $60,000 bottle of Piper Heidsieck 1907 Champagne is to be served in diamond-studded champagne flutes.
Among the other ingredients:
- Akbari pistachios ($8100)
- Wagyu beef ($7,300)
- Kopi Luwak: coffee beans that have been excreted by the Asian Palm Civet ($4,900)
- Yubari King melon from China ($4100)
- Densuke watermelon, grown only on the island of Hokkaido, Japan ($4,100).
- DIVA vodka, described by its manufacturer as "diamond-sand-filtered." It's served in a bottle filled with Swarovski crystals. ($3,200)
- 150-year-old balsamic vinegar ($1,675)
Next to all that, the rare breed turkey looks like a bargain at about $800. (Read More: Is This the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Whisky? )
If he doesn't get any takers, Spalding tweeted that he'd "spend the day with my young family, and two babies.