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Why Are Truffles So Expensive?

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Why Are Truffles So Expensive?

Truffles are a high-class delicacy, often seen paired with a night out of wining and dining. But what makes these fantastic little fungi so worth their hefty price tag? Read on, and we’ll show you why truffles are expensive but oh so worth it.

Truffles: An Established Delicacy

Truffles are known as a delicacy for a multitude of reasons. One of the most prominent reasons is their incredible flavor and unique aroma.

Truffles can have a variety of flavors depending on which type you try, but some of their more notable flavors can be nutty, oaky, savory, briny, and umami. Some say the smell and taste of truffles are very similar, so imagine the satisfying aroma of sweet chestnuts, delicious black olives, or dry-cured prosciutto.

Another commonly expressed reason for truffles’ status as a delicacy is that they’re simply very rare. Truffles are difficult to find in the wild and therefore require more time and effort to harvest them which ultimately increases the cost. Additionally, truffles have been found to have numerous health benefits which make them all the more desirable.

Truffle Rarity

To clarify further what exactly makes truffles themselves so rare, let's look into some facts about truffle growth and harvesting to see how the process dictates truffles as a delicacy.

Truffle Production

Truffles grow beneath the ground, entangled in tree roots. That means they aren’t visible to the people trying to farm them since they don’t leave any discernible signs above ground. To combat truffles' elusive nature, some people have tried to grow truffles on farms beneath certain trees known to be strong truffle hosts like hazelnut or oak.

However, even with truffle farms being designated purely for truffle growth and harvesting, truffle growth is unpredictable. Those who grow truffles on farms or in general have been unable to find a pattern in truffle reproduction, making it even harder to grow and harvest the luxurious fungi.

For times of uncertainty when farmers need assistance harvesting and finding truffles, truffle hunters are used to discover the location of any truffles nearby.

Truffle Hunting

But, what is a truffle hunter? Truffle hunters are animals trained to detect the scent of truffles so they can be excavated and sold to consumers.

In the past, truffle hunters were usually female pigs which were attracted to the scent of truffles. Now, more frequently, truffle hunting has become the job of a very specific breed of dog, the Lagotto Romagnolo.

Truffle hunting contributes to truffles’ positioning as a delicacy, since harvesting is far from easy. They require a specific method of searching to be discovered and harvested. Furthermore, they grow inconsistently and without a pattern so even with the usage of truffle hunters, they are rare and hard to find.

Truffle Preservation and Consumption

Once acquired, truffles must be properly preserved to maintain their particular flavor and scent.

Preservation

Truffles have a very short shelf life following harvesting. If stored with proper care, they can last up to two weeks. Without proper care and storage, they may begin to lose their sought-after umami aroma and flavor after just five days.

Consumption

The strong fragrance and tang of truffles are part of their widespread appeal. While it depends on the type of truffle, all truffles have a strong, unique scent.

Truffles have a short shelf life and are difficult to harvest, in addition to being hard to find and preserve. These characteristics contribute to them being known as a delicacy, as does their general uniqueness in flavor and smell.

The Physical Benefits of Eating Truffles

In addition to their appealing aroma and taste, truffles’ have many benefits that are lesser known. Not only are truffles decadently delicious, but they also boast a large variety of health benefits.


Truffles provide a lot of nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, amino acids, and fats. They’re additionally known to have antioxidants along with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anticancer properties. This further contributes to truffles as a delicacy — they’re not only rare and delectable, but they provide numerous health benefits.

Types of Truffles

Truffles, in general, are considered luxurious due to their rarity, health benefits, and preservation. The rarity of specific truffles also varies depending on the type of truffle someone is looking to acquire.

Black Truffles

Native to Périgord, France, the Périgord truffle is one of the most common species of black truffle, as well as one of the most commonly eaten types of truffles.

The black truffle is often grated on top of dishes or added in small increments due to its high price and worth.

It is also common to create truffle oils that are sold at a lower price than raw truffles, and they’re easier to cook with. For those wanting to use black truffles at home, choosing a high-quality oil like our black truffle oil makes it simple and affordable to use truffles in your own kitchen. Use this truffle variation as a topping on whatever dish you’d like.

While black truffles are rare and luxurious, there are other types of truffles that are even more expensive and hard to find.

White Truffles

One of the most — if not the most — expensive truffles sold anywhere in the world is the Alba truffle, a species of white truffle.

The Alba truffle, and the majority of white truffles, are native to Italy. They differ from black truffles in scent, taste, and physical characteristics.

One of the biggest distinguishing characteristics of the Alba truffle that differentiates it from the Périgord and black truffles is its fragility. Alba truffles are incredibly fragile.

This is why they have earned their title as the most opulent, expensive truffles. Being both rare and delicate makes them even harder to obtain than standard black truffles.

Truffles: More Than Meets The Eye

While the truffle may seem like any other ingredient, it’s known to others as the diamond of the kitchen. This is because truffles are rare and unique, with a decadent flavor and scent. Furthermore, they can even provide remarkable health benefits.


But now that you know why truffles carry their heavy price tag, wouldn’t you like to know how you can get your hands on some of your own truffles or truffle products to indulge in those umami flavors?

Serving and Consuming Truffles

Truffles are usually paired with a sense of affluence. However, truffles don’t have to be so complicated. Sometimes, they can just be part of a simple, at-home meal with the family.

Where To Find Luxury Truffles

If you’re interested in dining out and enjoying truffles, it’s worth noting that they are commonly served as a grated garnish on top of dishes. They’re especially common in high-class restaurants over spaghetti and other kinds of pasta. You see mostly black truffles used for this, although white truffles are sometimes used as well.

If you’re on the lookout for places that might have truffles in dishes or as a topping, look for restaurants with pasta dishes like cacio e pepe, seafood dishes, or red meats.

Truffles Can Be a Simple At-Home Luxury

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in an easy, at-home alternative to more expensive raw truffles, truffle oils and sauces serve as a simple way to spice up and elevate your home cooking.

Truffle oils can be drizzled atop any dish you see fit. Meanwhile, the way you use truffle sauces will be more specific depending on the sauce’s ingredients and flavor profiles.

For instance, our Spicy TRUFF Mayo can complement and enhance many flavors like this decadent grilled cheese. It brings a simple meal to the next level.


Replacing boring standard pasta sauces with truffle sauces is also a great way to spice up your dishes and enhance your cooking. It can make your home-cooked meal feel like a night out on the town, and it’s easier than having to actually go anywhere.

Truffles: Elegantly Easy

Although truffles themselves are glamorous and expensive, you can incorporate them into your simple home cooking. With truffle seasoning and sauces, even when you’re not at an upscale restaurant enjoying a pasta topped with black truffles, you can feel just as special enjoying mac and cheese topped with truffle oil at home.

Sources:

[Potentials of Truffles in Nutritional and Medicinal Applications: A Review | PMC](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7301458/)

[Inner Workings: The Mysterious Parentage of The Coveted Black Truffle | PMC](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6187194/)

[An Overview on Truffle Aroma and Main Volatile Compounds | PMC](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7765491/)

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