Truffles can be sinfully delicious—and sometimes rather expensive—chocolate dessert served in restaurants, but when it comes to decadence, they don’t breach the top ten—although the most expensive food share the same name.
A pound of European truffles can cost thousands of dollars!
Yes, truffles, the mushroom. These underground fungi are produced with a combination of European red soils and rainy summers, which created their rich and earthy flavors. Due to the very specific, rare circumstances that they grow, they are very expensive. In fact, each pound can cost thousands of dollars!
To make a point, the European white truffles, which are considered as a sort of holy grail for chefs and foodies, can sell for as much as $3,600 a pound. At a 2010 auction in Macau, a truffle weighing 2 pounds was sold for $330,000. A fancy restaurant in New York that serves hamburger smothered in this ingredient costs $150.
Dogs can be trained to hunt for truffles
So where do these truffles come from? They grow in the wild, usually under the base of oak trees, and truffle hunters use trained dogs or pigs to find these prized fungi. After harvest, they are then sent to factories, where they are washed, sorted, or canned. Others are also flown fresh to fancy restaurants.
A hamburger smothered with truffles is worth $150!
Unfortunately, climate change has greatly affected the harvest of truffles in France. They have become so rare and very in demand that at this point, they are even sold at black markets. Organized crime has even been involved in the trade!
European truffle hunters and farmers are also worried about the Chinese invading the trade. While they have their own version that looks like the European truffles, they don’t smell nor taste the same. Chinese truffles are considerably cheaper and definitely inferior compared to their European cousins.