November 5, 2018 | Suzanne Clark

The most expensive grilled cheese in the world costs $214 and is gilded with real gold

| @emmiemartin 

At home, grilled cheese constitutes a quick, easy, cheap meal. But at New York City's famed Serendipity 3 restaurant, the sandwich is both record-setting and budget-busting at $214 a pop.

Formally named "The Quintessential Grilled Cheese Sandwich," the dish officially holds the title of the most expensive sandwich in the world, according to Guinness World Records.

"It's like a grilled cheese on steroids," Joe Calderone, the Serendipity chef who invented the cheesy indulgence, tells CNBC's "Secret Lives of the Super Rich."

Despite the steep price, the chef says he's sold dozens of the speciality item. But it can't be ordered on a whim; the grilled cheese must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance.

"I think it's worth it," says Calderone. "It has the best ingredients in the world."

So, what's inside?

It starts with plush French bread that has Dom Perignon champagne and 23-karat gold baked throughout.

The sandwich is then stuffed with caciocavallo podolico, a rare cheese imported from southern Italy that tastes like a mix between manchego and parmesan. A mere 25,000 cows produce the specific milk found in the cheese, and they only lactate for two months per year.

After getting buttered up, the bread is brushed with a mixture of white truffle oil and gold flakes, which adds extra crisp, Calderone says.

It's melted in a panini press for four minutes, giving the cheese time to start bubbling. Once removed, the sides are encrusted with sheets of edible 23-karat gold.

But what's grilled cheese without tomato soup? To complete the iconic pairing, the sandwich is served alongside a luxe version of tomato bisque filled with chunks of lobster.

The grilled cheese isn't the only record-setting menu item served at Serendipity. 

The restaurant's "Golden Opulence Sundae" sells for $1,000 and includes three scoops of Tahitian vanilla ice cream covered in 23-karat gold leaf, as well as almonds, caviar and a sugar-forged orchid that takes eight hours to build.

The sundae is served in a $350 Baccarat crystal goblet (lined with more 23-karat gold leaf), with an 18-karat gold spoon on the side.

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