What Are Truffles and Why Are They So Expensive?

Truffles are known as the diamonds of the culinary world. This nickname provides some insight into their worth and value. A truffle is a type of edible mushroom that is extremely rare. It is the rarity of truffles that makes them so unique and highly sought after. Truffles are known to be a delicacy and have a specific aroma and taste that sets them apart from other types of mushrooms. They are known for having a firm texture, but they are most often used in dishes where they are used as shaved toppings for added flavor. Adding truffle to any dish has the ability to make it gourmet. 

Some elements that make truffles so prized include: 



One characteristic of truffles is that they grow underground. They grow at the roots of trees. To harvest truffles, they need to be dug out of the ground. Since they must be dug from the ground, truffles are difficult to find. Trained pigs and dogs are often used to help with harvesting truffles. The rarity of truffles and the inability to find them with ease is a big reason why they are so expensive. Since they are rare, you have to pay top dollar for the truffles that are harvested and sold each year. 




There is more than one type of truffle. Most truffles are categorized based on their color and appearance. Different types of truffles can range in color and taste and are found in different parts of the world. France is often known for having the best black truffles, rivaling white truffles in Italy. Most are known based on the location where they are harvested. 




Truffles have a distinct aroma and a very noticeable taste, which is why they can be used in a variety of gourmet dishes. Truffles flavor starts to lessen after they are harvested, which also adds to the expense of this mushroom. Cooking actually dissipates the flavor of truffles. They are often used to garnish plain, hearty dishes to ensure that the full taste is intact.