Found in central Italy, this mighty white truffle weighted in at 1.890kgs! The company turned down 1 million dollar offers from buyers in China. Instead, they chose to auction the truffle in New York to benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels and The Children's Glaucoma Foundation. The white truffle sold for an impressive $61,250 at the New York City auction.
Truffles are rare and extremely sought after, making them one of the most expensive foods in the world. The truffle is a wild, natural product grown underground, attached to the roots of trees — It is not something you can cultivate or control. This unpredictability contributes to the extreme prices truffles can bring.
To find them, truffle hunters traditionally used pigs to help hunters locate the fungi. Unfortunately, pigs have long been out of favour for hunting truffles because instead of retrieving them, they would eat them! Although they can be convinced to give the truffle up pigs can also cause a lot of damage to the terrain, so they have been outlawed in Italy for hunting truffles.
Truffle hunting has gone to the dogs! They are more of a popular choice for truffle hunting. They have more stamina than your average pig, they are easier to train and dogs are much less likely to try to eat the truffle once they find it! Some say that truffle hunters that use pigs don't tend to have all their fingers!
The main types of edible and sought-after truffles are the white truffle, black winter truffle and black summer truffle. Both truffles and mushrooms belong to the Fungi kingdom in scientific classification. However, mushrooms grow above ground and truffles grow underground on the roots of suitable host trees, like oak or hazelnut.
Why are they so expensive?
Truffles are so expensive because they are very difficult to farm. They only grow in specific conditions — scientists still don't know all the conditions that tell fungus to make a truffle structure, so it is impossible to force truffles to grow. Growing the appropriate trees in the correct type of soil and climate is the best you can do — the rest is largely up to nature!
So, what do they taste like?
Even the experts cannot describe the flavour of a truffle. Its completely unique and most people either love it or hate it! You will only know by trying it yourself, and the best way to try it is fresh, wild and in France or Italy!
How long do they keep?
They have a half-life of about four to five days. As soon as they come out of the ground, the aromas start dissipating. After four to five days, only half of the aromas remain. After eight to ten days, only a quarter of the aroma is there. After that, they are no better than the mushrooms you buy from the supermarket.