Quirky products make for for quirky news, and they don’t come much quirkier than the products of Swiss company DeLafee International which creates the most expensive chocolate in the world.

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DeLafee’s Swiss chocolate pralines are covered with 24 carat edible gold leaf hand-applied to each chocolate. Not surprisingly, there’s no economy pack, with the Intimacy Box costing US$36.90 and containing two pralines, while the celebration Box of eight is US$98.40. Why is the gold edible? All gold is apparently edible, being totally safe when ingested and famous for its non-allergenic properties (otherwise it wouldn’t be used in tooth fillings). Both the European Union and United States authorize the use of gold to decorate food products and in several cultures gold is regularly used in foods. India is the world’s largest consumer of gold in food products, eating its way through 12 metric tons of gold per year. Gold leaf is used to decorate pastries, which the wealthy offer as gifts for special celebrations like weddings or holidays. In France and Italy, celebrity chefs use gold leaf to decorate their most refined dishes. In Japan, gold leaf is mixed with sake on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year and in Europe the same tradition apparently exists with champagne, though we can’t vouch for either practice.

As for the choices that cost US$18.45 each, they’re made from a blend of criollo cocoa beans from Ecuadorand Venezuela and Forestero cocoa beans from Ghana. Distributed internationally (current list here), Delafee is seeking international distributors.