Monster egg goes on sale in Piccadilly shop for £50,000

Even by the standards of a London food scene that has marketed such extravagances as an £108 bowl of soup, the cost of this chocolate Easter egg may shock the unsuspecting shopper.

The "Diamond Stella Egg" going on sale at the Piccadilly shop La Maison Du Chocolat outshines previous examples of gourmet conspicuous consumption - with a price tag of £50,000. Two guards will protect the egg when the shop opens at 10am today.

The egg follows a trend for outsized and outlandishly expensive fare, such as the McDonald sandwich - costing £85 - at Selfridges this month. A cocktail at the Umbaba nightclub in the West End had seemingly set the previous record for overpriced food and drink - a now piffling £333.

A chocolatier spent three weeks making the Diamond Stella Egg in a workshop in Paris. Standing 65cm (25in) tall, the egg is made of layers of dark chocolate and is stuffed with peach and apricot chocolates and pralines in the shape of fish - a French tradition at Easter. The outside is studded with rows of half-carat diamonds, 100 in all. Decorative stars lie alongside the diamonds, made of coloured milk chocolate.

La Maison Du Chocolat has five branches in Paris, one each in Tokyo and New York and two in London - one in Piccadilly and one in Harrods. But only one £50,000 Easter egg has been produced for the London store.

A treasure trove of posh chocolate, the shop dispenses hot chocolate from a copper urn and sells handmade chocolates with such names as Salvador, Bacchus, Othello, Zagora and Anastasia. A 1,200g box of champagne truffles sells for £96.

But it is the monster egg that the French chain is most proud of. A spokesman said: "This is the most unique, exciting and individual egg we have ever created. The question we are asking is whether the buyer will want to eat it or preserve it."

Another question may be, will anyone buy it? Yesterday, La Maison du Chocolat's spokesman maintained: "We have got some interest. Nothing confirmed. We can't say any more because of confidentiality."

Neil Duttson, of Duttson Diamonds, the Knightsbridge dealer which supplied the gems, was less sure of its saleability. He said: "It's a gimmick, a PR stunt. And it probably won't sell unless a rich Russian walks by with his trophy wife and decides he wants it ... Chocolate and diamonds - what more could a woman want?"

But if the Diamond Stella Egg does not sell, it will soon become the Stella Egg. The diamonds were "on loan", Mr Duttson revealed.

They will be picked off in the event of a big spender failing to pay a small fortune for a big egg.

Expensive delicacies

SANDWICH

The McDonald sandwich, created by chef Scott McDonald, costs £85 at Selfridges. The 2,500-calorie behemoth includes brie, roquette in advocado oil, red pepper and mustard confit, English plum tomatoes and Wagyu beef.

COCKTAIL

For £333, the Magie Noir cocktail at London's Umbaba nightclub includes Hennessy cognac, Dom Perignon champagne and a dash of Creme de Mure - served in a crystal glass with a 24-carat white gold cocktail pin.

BURGER

The Double Truffle Burger, created in 2004 by French chef Daniel Boulud, is sold at New York's Bistro Moderne. It costs £65 and is only available during the black truffle season.

OMELETTE

Take six eggs, one lobster, 10 ounces of caviar. Mix with double cream and chives for a £570 omelette at Le Parker Meridien hotel in New York.

CHOCOLATE

Chocopologie by Knipschildt Chocolatier of Connecticut is a dark chocolate truffle, with a French truffle inside - £140.

CAVIAR

Almas caviar, from sturgeons aged 60-80 years, costs £125,000 for a 1.8 kilo tin.

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