Truffles are one of the most expensive foods you can buy which is why they have a reputation for being luxurious products. The reason why they are so expensive is that they cannot be cultivated or controlled, and they can only be found in nature. This unpredictability makes the price of truffles very high.
For many people, truffles are a bit of a mystery, since most of us have heard of them but very few know what they taste like. Truffles are fungi that grow underground with the help of a symbiotic relationship with the roots of many trees.
They taste like mushrooms but are much more pungent and they are used as a sort of spice, typically grated over dishes to give them more flavor. If you want to learn more about this curious fungus, you can read our list of fascinating facts below.
Finding truffles takes knowledge
Truffles are very particular about where they grow and they are generally found near the living roots of trees such as oak, hazel, pine, lime, beech, red alder, pecan, hazelnut, and cottonwood, depending on the type of truffle.
In order for truffle hunters to be successful, they need to know their trail very well and most are adept at searching for them. The spot matters very much and once a hunter has found a truffle in a place, it is very likely for more and more truffles to grow there again and again.
There are truffle spots that have been passed down from generation to generation and in some cases, the same areas have been used to collect this expensive fungus for more than 2000 years.
The aroma and taste is one of a kind
It is believed that the thick and earthy flavor that truffles have is due to the combination of the wet summers and rich red soil of Europe. It’s hard to describe the musky smell and taste since even food critics have a hard time describing it. It’s pungent and musky, with hints of petrichor and the fresh smell of soaked earth after a downpour.
This mysterious taste and smell are what make it so popular since many people are fascinated by this description and want to taste and smell it themselves. While you can purchase truffle oil, paste, or butter, it does not offer the same flavor or smell since truffles have a short shelf life and real truffle oil is not a viable product.
Since they are so expensive and their aroma is so strong, it helps to slice them into paper-thin slices in order to get the most servings out of a truffle. In case you need a good one, there are plenty of truffle shavers to choose from.
There’s a season for truffles
Late winter or early spring is the perfect time to look for truffles since this is when their aroma is the strongest and those found during the summer are less intense and their aroma dissipates much quicker than that of winter truffles.
Since they are deep underground, finding them is quite difficult for humans which is why animals are used as companions. Originally, pigs were used to sniff but these days dogs are more common and are trained specifically to smell this expensive underground fungus.
They’re more expensive than you think
Truffles are also known as black diamonds and for a good reason since no matter how crazy it might sound, they can cost almost as much as a diamond. The European white truffles are the most expensive species and even a few shavings can cost you hundreds of dollars.
These can be sold for as much as $3,500 per pound and one huge two-pound truffle was recently sold for more than $300,000.
Truffle mafia is real
Seeing just how expensive truffles can get, it shouldn’t be too surprising to find out that there is a black market for this product. There have even been reports of dealers trying to kidnap truffle dogs and breaking into restaurant kitchens and the homes of truffle hunters in search of this product.
The yearly find of truffles is reduced each year due to the effects of climate change. While just a century ago the yearly find was of 2,000 tons, in the present day that's been reduced to just 30 tons. With this in mind, there’s no surprise that people are willing to clamor so much for these little pieces of underground gold.
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