Why White Truffles Cost $2K a Pound
It's surprising, considering they smell like 'a locker room'
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2010 5:30 PM CDT
Auction organizer Giselle Oberti shows an Italian white truffle. Auction organizers said the specimen, which weighs 2.37 lbs, will be put in a charity auction on Nov. 29, 2008 held on Macau island.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

(Newser) – Truffles: They’re a featured ingredient in a $1,000 bagel or the similarly priced “Golden Opulence” ice cream sundae. So what is it about these mushrooms, the white truffle in particular, that make people willing to spend $2,000 a pound on them? They’re rare—only available a couple months of the year from a limited area in Italy, and they have to be foraged by pigs—but does that make up for their smell? One chef describes it as “disconcerting. It conjures up images of a locker room.”

But, she continues, “the aroma deceptively conceals their complex yet delicate taste. They are sublime.” But there are fewer each year, and currently not enough to meet demand. “The market just has to live with that, because truffles can't be faked or formulated,” says one importer. To Josh Ozersky, that’s a good thing: “If truffles could be put into mass production and sold at Whole Foods, they'd be cheaper, but their mystique would evaporate,” he writes in Time. “And with it much of their value to the world.”

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Showing 3 of 7 comments
Naked_Emperor
Oct 24, 2010 1:05 PM CDT
It is a fungus people....
Ultraworld
Oct 24, 2010 12:07 PM CDT
Wait until some enterprising hydro pot growers figure out how to grow it.
passinthru
Oct 24, 2010 4:50 AM CDT
its fungus...for 2 grand a pound?! people are retarded. the only time ive paid for mushrooms also came with a helluva time. no truffle can do that for me.