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Why Real Truffles Are So Expensive | So Expensive

Luxury cousins of the mushroom, truffles are an indulgent
food enjoyed across the world. But these fragrant fungi will cost you. In 2014, the world’s largest
white truffle was flown to New York accompanied
by a security guard and sold at auction for $61,000. Discovered in Italy, this gigantic fungus weighed almost 2 kilos. So, what is it that
makes them so expensive? There are a lot of types of truffle. There are at least 40 species,
many of which aren’t edible, and new species have been
discovered as recently as 2018. You’ve probably seen
luxury truffle products in supermarkets or fancy restaurants, but the unique truffle
flavor you recognize might not be real truffle at all. Cheap truffle oil often hasn’t been anywhere near a real truffle. Many cheaper truffle products
use 2,4-dithiapentane, a synthesized compound containing one of the main aromatic
components of foot odor, guaranteed to give it that “earthy” taste. Real truffles are seasonal and pricey, with a short shelf life. They were originally sniffed
out using truffle pigs, but while pigs are very
good at finding truffles, they’re also very good
at eating them, too. And these days, dogs are much more common truffle-hunting companions. These fungi can be found across the world, but they all require a very
specific climate to grow. While different varieties may have somewhat different requirements,
one thing is certain. You can’t have truffles without trees. James Feaver: Truffles are
always found with trees, and they have to be the
right type of trees. Under the ground, the truffle
is just the fruiting body, so an equivalent to an apple. And we’ve also got a
lot of then what we call the mycelium, microscopic-level threads, and up to 100 meters
in a teaspoon of soil. And this mycelium is actually
attached to the roots of a tree like the fingers
of glove onto a hand. And it sort of extends
the reach of the tree out. And it actually takes
up water and nutrients and passes them to the tree,
and the tree gives it sugars in return, so to help the
truffles, the fruit, develop. Narrator: Even when you have
exactly the right conditions, truffles aren’t guaranteed, and hunting them is a
labor-intensive process. Once you know where to
look, you have to sniff out and dig up each truffle by hand, and they can be tricky to find. Feaver: Good boy, thank
you, good boy, come! So he just told us there
it’s still in the ground. So do I want to take it
out of the ground or not? It all depends on if it’s ripe. If it’s unripe, there’s
no point in having it. So the nose comes into play. And we actually sniff the ground for it. Narrator: It may take a while, but finding a good one can
make it worth the work. Feaver: Yeah, that’s a nice one. Yeah, that’s probably about 70, 80 grams. Narrator: Truffles also
have a short season, often appearing for only
a few months of the year. And even when you do
get your hands on them, they don’t last for long. Feaver: An unripe
truffle, unlike a tomato, which you could cut from the vine and ripen on your windowsill, once the truffle is out of the
ground, the clock is ticking. So it’s just sort of slowly
gonna degrade over time. So we want to get it out to
the customers nice and fast. Narrator: After just five
days out of the ground, that pungent truffle
smell will have halved. You can farm many truffle varieties, besides the rare Italian whites. Many people have been successful in setting up truffle
orchards, but it’s not easy. Trees need to be planted in
the right soil conditions, inoculated with truffle fungus, and often irrigated constantly. It can take as long as six years before you get a good truffle harvest, and there’s no guarantee that
the fungi will grow at all. So after all that effort, what
do they actually taste like? Ju Shardlow: Ooh. Claudia Romeo: Hm. Leon Siciliano: The
smell just made me think it was gonna be really strong. The flavor is actually quite subtle. There’s a nuttiness there. There’s, like, an earthy flavor there. Ju: Actually quite light and fragrant. It tastes a lot nicer than it smells. It smells like damp socks. Claudia: That’s good. I mean, this is the first
time I’ve actually eaten a truffle by itself. You know, it’s a bit like mushroom, but it’s more of a meaty, meaty bite. Narrator: These days,
farming has taken over as our primary source of truffles, and today, 70% of the world’s
truffles are cultivated. Through the loss of
woodland and climate change, the number of wild truffles
has decreased significantly. Since the 19th century,
production in France has fallen from over 1,000 tonnes a
season to just 30 tonnes. And climate change could mean
that truffles will disappear altogether in the future. Feaver: The weather
conditions are so important, not just immediately,
over the whole season. We’re getting much lower numbers and much lower average size. A truffle is about 70% water, so it needs rainfall to help it grow. Some UK truffle scientists are thinking that your traditional areas, the climate is gonna move further north, and they’re not gonna
have a truffle industry within I think perhaps 50 years. There’s threats, there’s opportunities, but rain, we do need rain. When we get a dry summer, the holidaymakers, they’re delighted, but I keep crossing my fingers for a bit of rain every now and again.


  1. Vegan Conservative Author

    So, basically, I'm not missing a thing for not ever having tasted a rotten looking fungus (fungus? Isn't Athlete's Foot a fungus?! Why would you… ugh, that's gross!) lump that tastes 'nice' and 'meaty' for a ridiculous amount of work and money. Also it sounds like removing the things from around the trees does a disservice to the forest's health.
    Will stick with seeds and nuts, thank you.

  2. Mali Hali Author

    Probably there’s truffle in my back yard.. shooo I got more trees in my backyard than houses around me.. I’m going truffle hunting first thing in the morning morning.. sniff sniff

  3. L0j1k Author

    I bet you a thousand United States dollars (in United States hundred dollar bills) that climate change will not only destroy any truffle industry, but that climate change will in fact destroy all truffles that ever existed.

  4. Gerardo Caballero Author

    This just makes me wonder if all the times I’ve walked through a forest could there have been truffles? It’s like the trufflerush

  5. BlazePower Channel Author

    Whenever it's winter my dad bring our dog to truffle hunting tiny truffle we eat but the big ones we sell oh and the dog my dad bought it of a truffle hunter he had lots of dogs and he's my dads best friend

  6. Prime Lopez Author

    Climate Change Is A given it runs hot then cold for a decade each….
    The Truffels won't completly dissappear. You Green New Deal Idiots are too stupid.

  7. Dahveed Author

    The funny thing is, I work in a restaurant which sells shredded truffle on ravioli for twenty bucks per portion. It's actually very "meh". I mean like, "meh" of epic proportions. If they weren't so rare and "prestigious", nobody would even give a shit about them.

  8. David Beppler Author

    We collected 1000 tons a season since 1900 to just 30 tons in 2020… so you take 100,000 tons of truffles out of the ground over the course of 120 years…. and notice a decline in how many you can find? Stop collecting them for 20 years or so and watch the number found return to 1000 tons a season! Conservation is a thing.

  9. Sr. Z Author

    So most mediocre restaurants that claim to serve you truffle anything, making your bill more expensive, may actually not be real truffle at all? Yeah. This is why I just make my own food. Lol.

  10. MrRadioGypsy Author

    Such BS. They had to work in that 'global warming' is now responsible for destroying truffles. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you know anything about biology, you will know why their claim is false. If you cannot figure it out; then you probably failed basic biology and are clueless and will be made into a liberal tool for it . . .

  11. ganesh patra Author

    so it is expensive but why ??
    i mean its hard to find, cultivate and tastes like nothing good
    i think its jst rich people do know how to spend money

  12. Crystal M Author

    Neat, another reason old growth forests are so important. There are just as many discoveries to be found in the TRUE old growth forests as the same acres of jungle.

    Unfortunately, with logging disrupting and thinning the diversity it just took people longer to find the connections.

    Like the Bees and the Bears along with mycelium and mushroom diversity. The whole circle of a healthy ecosystem needs to be in play in order to strengthen the Bees immunity, (actually recently proven in triple blind studies by a botanist/mycelium Dr.)

  13. Dwindle Berry Author

    How did some stupid ass shrivel up testicle from the ground become such a luxury item? Like did someone just happen upon this thing while digging and just think "oh yeah, that's luxury?"

  14. jhn mrak Author

    I looked in the citations and didnt see the reference but can you point to the research stating climate change is directly/indirectly responsible for truffle reduction? I'd like to read it. Thanks.

  15. Dread Domino Author

    "Real truffles are so expensive because we can set the price to whatever and people will still buy it" just like literally everything, especially crab, lobster, etc.

  16. Owen Denchy Author

    I wondered at what point you would bring in climate change, you UN agenda people are everywhere with your propaganda.
    The climate has always changed, it has nothing to do with CO2. Business insider, funded by the UN.

  17. Owen Denchy Author


  18. Iknow You Author

    I'm not sure but I think I used to enjoy this type of mushroom when I was a kid. Most of them had the purple color on their inside "meat", earthy smells, and fun to slice off (feels like slicing the magic sand 😂) Finding them in my home backyard or in the forest nearby. I remember it was exciting to find a bunch of them, and my mom would stir fry it along with chillies, plus a lit bit of salt and sugar. Yum! Having it over hot white rice is the best ☺️

  19. i SkyWalKing Author

    Ordering "truffles" at a restaurant. lol. As if…. they probably give you the minimum amount they can shaved with other varieties of mushrooms and hike the price of your meal up by 300%. I don't trust any restaurant, especially "high-end" ones.

  20. AngryTech Author

    The auld fake news propaganda about climate change thrown in, overall percentage of trees on the planet has actually increased over a 35-year period by 7 percent…..Then he says we need rain ??? There is ponds of water in the fields behind my house right now.
    I know without even using the net why there is a shortage of truffles in France and that happen in 1914 and has ZERO to do with anything related to the climate.

  21. Howard Johnson Author

    Acht mine gollies – this too is in danger because of climate change. Where is the mentally ill and so badly used climate change kid gretta when we need her? Actually does anyone need her at all? Her parents should be thrown in a lock up for child abuse.

  22. Star Gazer Author

    Seriously how do they even figure out the prices for this stuff???Ive never even had a truffle and I’m 42 years old!!!And if you wanna grow these go to Vancouver it rains there all winter long!!!


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