The world has been blessed with an abundance of multiple precious things whether it is natural resources, treasures, or edible things. Apart from the other things, when it comes to talking about the edible things, I mean foodstuffs, there are so many of them that are outstanding, rare, unique, and in a word, invaluable.
Truffles are one of those types of food items across the globe that are overwhelmingly impressive. Because of the high value, rate, glory, and purity, truffles have been idolized in literature, customs, and mythology for a long time.
Well, if you have the least knowledge about truffles, that is fantastic enough. And if you have not, there is a short sketch of truffles that may help you know some of the interesting facts about these luxurious foods. Overall, I will predominantly discuss some crucial facts related to the expensiveness of this food item. Hence, let’s proceed with the issues.
A short introduction of truffles: According to various botanists, truffles are a species of the Tuber genus, and for this reason, their scientific name is Tuber melanosporum. At the same time, another large group of scientists states that they are not completely a tuber, rather a form of fungi or mushrooms. Typically, mushrooms grow above ground but truffles are grown underground. They are grown at the root of some broadleaved trees such as oaks, hazelnuts, hornbeam, poplars, willows, and linden trees.
Specifically, different species of truffles are found in the world. From them, the most common species are winter white, winter black, muscat black, musky black, Chinese black, Himalayan black, summer black, autumn black, and white truffles. And the most interesting fact is that white truffles are the most famous and popular truffles on the earth. They are much more well-known and celebrated than all other truffles.
However, truffles are mainly an Italian treasure found in the region of Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria. Besides, they are also harvested in some other regions of Europe. After that, they are barely produced in New Zealand, China, France, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific Northwest.
Specialties of Truffles: Truffles are very special because of their enthralling aroma and flavor. The intoxicating fragrance of truffles will captivate anyone. An irresistible kind of aroma appears from the cream-colored center of this fungus when it is uncovered. And you will never forget this type of bitter scent. Simply, their aroma is heavenly and it is impossible to avoid such a pungent smell.
Besides the aroma of truffles, they are also very special owing to their taste. If you had ever got a chance to savor truffles, you might have realized how tasteful and delicious truffles can be. Not only their aroma but also their taste will mesmerize your power of tasting.
That is not over. Some other specialties of truffles are worthy to mention here. But, as I’m going to describe the reasons for truffles being so expensive, their specialties are included there. Therefore, let’s move on and pay attention to the actual context.
Why are truffles so expensive?
As truffles are very ambrosial and palatable, their price is also very expensive, and they are one of the costliest food items on the planet. Among the numerous species, prestigious ones come from certain places. Specifically, white truffles which grow in Italy are much more expensive than all other truffles. They, in general, demand thousands of dollars for a single pound.
But to mention particularly, only 2 pounds of white truffles were sold for a record amount of $85,000 at an auction in 2018. Another ridiculous price tag is that only 3lbs of white truffles were sold for $330,000 in the previous year.
Hence, the expensiveness of truffles is verily predictable. But why are they so expensive? To answer this question, some facts matter in this case. So, the reasons behind very expensive foods are explained here elaborately.
Difficult to find:
The first and foremost reason for which truffles are so expensive is their scarcity. It is very difficult to find truffles because they are grown underground. As a result, it is inconceivable for people where truffles can exist. In this case, some hunting animals are used to unearth truffles. Usually, trained dogs, bears, and pigs are very common in discovering the place where truffles are available.
Moreover, I’ve said earlier that truffles are not found and cultivated everywhere. Europe is the mainland that produces a large share of truffles, especially white truffles. Besides, black truffles are found in some other regions along with Europe. So, you will not find them in every country. And these specific regions are not sufficient enough to supply the demand of the entire world. As a result, truffles have become quite expensive regarding the difficulty to find them.
Difficult places to access:
It is another crucial aspect that influences the high price of truffles. Typically, truffles are grown at the root of some particular trees. These trees have been mentioned at the very beginning of the article. However, these special types of trees work as the host of truffles and they grow only at a specific place.
Therefore, to access truffles, you have to hunt some difficult places around the earth. Specifically, Alba, a northern Italian region, is called the capital of white truffles where they are prosperous to find. Besides, France is another place where truffles are found. Together with them, other places include the Pacific Northwest, Australia, and the South Coast of the United States. These places are blessed with a sufficient amount of truffles. And to get them, you must pay an expensive price.
The unearthly aroma of truffles is one of the most remarkable causes of demanding a ridiculous price. These fungi are mainly renowned for their exclusive aroma that is sweet, pleasant, and ravishing. No one can evade such a scent. The aromatic smell may produce intoxication in the nose and lull your senses as it is irresistible.
This peculiar odor appears from the essence of truffles when they start to mature. Analysts say that some chemicals are responsible for spreading such a pungent smell. It is bis(methylthio)methane which is the compound of white truffles. Besides, dimethyl sulfide and 2-Methylbutanal are found in the black truffles for which this special smell arises.
They also explain that besides those scent molecules, truffles have some other elements such as pheromones, chemical substances, androstenol, and asteroidal pheromone. On account of these chemicals, they release a particular type of aroma that attracts dogs and some other hunting animals, as well as men. As a result, animals are used to unearth them from the ground.
However, it is conspicuous that truffles are quite impressive, and even expensive owing to the exceptional aromatic power that ennobles them.
Then, the unmatched flavor of truffles is another reason for which they are so expensive. It is well-known to everyone that truffles are one of the most delicious foods on the planet. That means the taste and flavor of truffles are just scrumptious and unforgettable.
It should be remembered that as truffles come from different species, their flavor also differs in the case of their species. All species of truffles are not tasteful. Some of them are edible and delicious. Among them, white truffles are the most acknowledged and celebrated that give off unparalleled flavor. They deliver a musky, garlicky, nutty flavor that is uncompromising. On the other hand, the flavor of black truffles is often characterized as being earthy, woody, mushroomy, and even a little chocolatey.
Very short season:
The season of harvesting truffles is very short. In general, some truffles are available all year long but fresh truffles are found in a particular period. The season of them stays from September to December. And the peak time is from November to December. At that time, they are cultivated abundantly as the weather is auspicious for them. Their short season of harvesting makes them more sought-after and thus expensive.
Weather is a big concern in cultivating truffles. All-season is not favorable to grow truffles. Rather their season is short and they need calm and soft weather. Dewey, rainy, humid, and moist weather is conducive to augment their growth. When it is too dry and hot, truffles do not grow up appropriately. That is why truffles are planted in the early spring and harvested in the winter season.
Difficult to cultivate:
It is much more difficult and strenuous to cultivate truffles properly. You have to go through some laborious stages to cultivate them commercially or domestically. The methods are very lengthy, assiduous, and enduring. You have to show great care and patience if you want to cultivate truffles. It takes years after years to get a harvest from truffles cultivation.
Formidable agricultural challenges:
As cultivating truffles is very arduous, it includes some formidable agricultural challenges. And all the procedures must be accomplished to get a good harvest of truffles. However, these challenges are too troublesome to take.
Primarily, if you want to grow truffles, consider your character of weather. Then, realize whether the season is suitable or not. Hence, you can start your mission to cultivate truffles.
At the very beginning of the challenges, you have to collect inoculated trees from the truffles dealers or a garden supplier. These trees are particular, including oaks, hazelnut, pines, poplars, etc. When you decide to plant them, keep in mind that they should be planted at a fair distance.
However, one of the most challenging steps is choosing an appropriate place. As the high-demanding fungus, you may face unexpected intruders. So, keep your cultivating area safe and secured by fencing. Besides, the soil of the area is a major concern in this case. All types of soil are not advantageous for truffles. Therefore, they need alkaline soil with a pH from 7.5 up to 8.3. So, test the nature of the soil to ensure that it is friendly to truffles. You may get many kinds of soil test kits at the market. After testing the soil, prepare it for cultivating by tilling, composting, and adding some other applicable materials.
After choosing the place, initiate a proper irrigation system. As truffles need a rainy and humid environment, ensure that the soil is getting sufficient water. Well, now you can instill your saplings of orchards in the early spring. Henceforward, you have to be more careful and attentive all the time as long as you get the output. Therefore, take care of your plants by cleaning the surrounding trees, weeding the area, mowing the grass, and trimming the trees on occasions when it seems essential.
Thus, wait years after years to evolve the trees, and to get the harvest. Eventually, when any indication appears after 6/8 years, you may assume that truffles are full-grown and mature. Therefore, choose the winter season to collect your fruit. And bring your trained dog or any other hunting animals to find truffles and to unearth them. If truffles are ripened and full-fledged, the animal will discover them by indicating the spot.
These are the essential processes to cultivate truffles properly.
And these agricultural processes are much more complicated, laborious, and withstanding than they sound. After completing all of them, it is also uncertain whether you will be successful in getting a satisfactory harvest or not.
For this reason, when truffles are grown after these formidable tasks, the price becomes beyond your imagination.
Short supply and High demand:
Another crucial reason for the expensive price is the high supply and demand of truffles. Truffles are mainly renowned for delicacy. So, people around the world like truffles and love to eat. As a result, their demand is worldwide. Besides, they are not cultivable everywhere. That is why they are supplied all over the world with complicated steps. These realities swallow a large sum of money. For this reason, the price is very expensive when you buy them from retailers.
Impossible to store for a long time:
Truffles are inconvenient to store for a long time and they do not survive more than 8/10 days. It is impossible to store them for months after months. You have to consume them as early as possible to enjoy their real taste.
In terms of storing them, you can store them for a few months by some incompatible steps. But, they lose their freshness in the meantime. Therefore, it is better to eat them as long as they are fresh. Regarding the short time of freshness, truffles are sold fast.
Eventually, these mandatory aspects are mainly responsible for which truffles are so expensive and the price is somewhat extravagant. Nevertheless, truffles have been referred to as one of the most palatable and delicious foods on the planet on account of their irresistible fragrance, heavenly flavor, worldwide demand, rare accessibility, and short-time preservation. Because of these, their demand and appeal are also flourishing day by day. So, if you are a genuine food lover, don’t miss out on their taste whatever the price is.
About Dawson Kutch
Dawson Kutch is a born and raised Alaskan who loves the outdoors and everything it has to offer. Kutch has been an avid hunter and fisher his entire life, and takes great pride in providing for himself and his family. While he enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, Kutch also has a passion for fashion and loves to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. In his free time, Kutch enjoys spending time with his wife and one young daughter. He is always looking to learn more and better himself, both as a writer and as a person.