Southampton billionaire Derwood Hodgegrass entertained a small group of friends and fellow gourmands with a special macaroni & cheese dinner on Wednesday, using $600-per-pound Pule cheese.
Earlier on Wednesday, the eccentric spender told Facebook followers that he’d acquired 17 pounds of Pule—the world’s most expensive cheese, made from the milk of Bavarian donkeys—for a discounted price of $400 per pound. To the delight of pals and a few acquaintances, Hodgegrass celebrated his purchase by having his chef whip up a large batch of macaroni and Pule, and served it along with his favorite champagne and, of course, caviar.
Pule is created at a donkey farm 50 miles outside of Belgrade in Serbia (and nowhere else), where cheese makers must milk the 100 rare Bavarian jennies by hand three times per day. According to Wikipedia, 6.6 gallons of donkey milk is needed to create 2.2 pounds of the vaunted cheese, which is then smoked.
“I’ll be honest,” Hodgegrass said, “I was considering buying up and breeding some of these Bavarian Donkeys to produce this fine cheese here in the Hamptons, and in America, but I’m not sure this was much better than Velveeta.”
The billionaire has been known to follow somewhat extreme flights of fancy, especially when they involve incredibly pricey objects or activities. Some have speculated that Hodgegrass uses his wealth to make statements about outrageous shows of riches on the South Fork, but friends say his motives aren’t so deep. “He likes extremes—that’s true,” friend Howard Sneed said on Thursday, “But Der is definitely not making statements. He just likes shiny things and sharing a lifestyle most couldn’t even dream of.”
Hodgegrass disavowed wealth and material things for a time last year, but he also installed caviar machines in his home, bought Mike Tyson‘s bathtub for $1.2 million and later gave free caviar baths in the tub at Montauk’s Seafood Festival in September.