Balena Serves Chicago's Most Expensive PizzaBy Sarah Freeman | December 5, 2013 By Sarah Freeman | December 5, 2013
With 20 grams of freshly shaved black and white truffles, a sprinkling of Cinco Jotas Jamón ibérico de Bellota, wood-fired crust and a glass of 2008 Gaja "Dagromis" Barolo to wash it all down, this pizza party is not for the stingy. The new, oh-so-over-the-top truffle pizza at Balena is available for the duration of European truffle season, now through approximately early January. Originally this pie was priced at $500, then marked down to $250 and finally settled at $99 - an insane bargain considering the amount of truffles and quality of jamón gracing it. The restaurant is not making a profit off of the extravagant pizza.
Why, then, did Balena put this truffle-covered masterpiece on the menu? Because when importer, gourmand and modern-day pirate Rodrick Markus of Rare Tea Cellar comes to you with some of the finest imported truffles and most expensive ham in the world, you show it off. In the words of executive chef Chris Pandel, the other mad genius behind the pizza, “I’d go out and get it for 100 bucks, but you have to know what you’re eating.” For the record, what you're eating is jamón taken from only the rear leg of a pure-bred pig raised in a single pasture of Jabugo, Spain, black truffles harvested from the forests of Perigord, France and Alba white truffles flown in directly from Italy. You are eating the most expensive pizza in Chicago.