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11 Short and Sweet Facts about Truffles – World’s Most Expensive Mushrooms

Truffles are one of the interesting, rare, and the most expensive mushrooms in the world. Thanks to their unique taste and aroma, truffles got popular around the world.

Also, its popularity grows with its hefty price tag. Therefore, truffle hunters are always in the search to find these hidden treasures.

Now, let’s learn some facts about truffles and get an inch closer to the rarest mushrooms.

1. Truffles are subterranean fungi (mushrooms).

They belong to the family of ectomycorrhizal fungi. Therefore, people can find them from the areas closer to tree roots. 

Unfortunately, not all tree roots can enable the growth of truffles. So, do not dig a wrong root.

2. Not all of the truffles are edible.

There are only a few types of truffles which are commercially important for the food industry. 

Those are Italian White Truffles (Tuber magnatum Pico), Perigord Black (Tuber melanosporum), Bianchetto (Tuber borchii), and Burgundy Truffle (Tuber aestivum).

3. The prices of truffles are almost unfordable for ordinary people. 

Picture of black truffles
Black Truffles / Credit: Stephencdickson

Rarity equals to a higher cost. That notion is especially true in the truffle business. 

People spent days to find just a handful of truffles. However, truffle hunters are not minded doing the hard work since a few truffles can turn into a huge profit.

For instance, according to Bloomberg, truffle prices almost doubled in 2017. Just to get a pound of Italian white truffles, one should pay around 3200 US dollars.

4. Truffles are harvested with the help of pigs and dogs.

Pigs and dogs do excellent job detecting buried truffles by using their outstanding sense of smell. 

Both of them are true masters, however, truffle hunters usually prefer to use dogs. 

Because dogs do not mind exchanging their findings with something they can eat. Whereas, pigs are quick to eat truffles at the spot.

Plus, truffle hunters like secrecy. So, if they walk around in the woods with pigs, someone might know what they are doing. And, walking with a pig is not fashionable anymore. 

5. Truffle harvest decreased a great deal compared to the early 1900s.

According to the Mycological Society of San-Francisco, truffle harvest was around 2,200 tons in 1890 but that amount came down 300 tons in 1914. 

In current days, truffle hunters can gather only 25 to 150 tons of truffles per year.

Hot and dry seasons affect the growth of truffles. For that reason, high prices usually follow the hot and dry years.

6. Top 4 truffle producers in the world are France, Italy, Spain, and Australia.

In the late 1890s, France produced most of the global truffle harvest. Over 190,000 acres (75,000 hectares) of truffle cultivations existed in the French countryside. 

However, the First World War damaged Trufficulture by killing more than 20% of the total workforce in France.

7. The word “Truffle” derived from the Latin word “Tuber” which means swelling or tumor.

The name Truffle is not only used to describe subterranean fungi, but it is also the name of chocolate candy with a soft center. 

So, make sure you are ordering a right truffle, although its price may tell you which truffle you are getting.

8. The white Truffles cost three times more than the black ones.

Picture of white truffles
White Truffles

It is because white truffles are found in limited amounts only during three months of a year: October, November, and December.

Plus, white truffles can be found only in one place in Italy.

9. The largest truffle ever found weighs 4.16 pounds (1.9 kg) and it got a $1,000,000 offer.

The massive 4.16 pound (1.9 kg) white truffle was found in Italy by Sabatino Truffles. 

Soon after it was found, buyers from Macau and China reportedly offered $1 million dollars for it. But the company decided to auction it off and give the raised money for charity. 

However, in Sotheby’s auctions, it brought $61,250 which was way less than the initial non-auction offer.

10. Truffles are served raw and do not require peeling.

Usually, truffles are served by sprinkling finely shaved pieces on top of a salad, pasta, and fried eggs. 

Sometimes, paper cut thins of truffles are added into meat and cheese as well.

In order to preserve its unique taste and aroma, chefs do not peel its skin. They just give it a good brushing and wash it off to remove the sticky earth around it.

11. Average Pericord truffles weigh about 0.70 – 2.12 ounces (20 to 60 grams)

The weight of the truffles depends on their types and their locations. For instance, although not usual, some truffles can reach 2.2 lbs (1kg).

If you found our truffle facts tasty, share them on social media. 

By Arslan Batyrovich

Founder of FactPros.com
Writer, Researcher, Fact-finder, and All-in-one
Loves nature, Likes history, and Adores anything interesting
To get tailored writing or to work with, contact at [email protected]

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