all about truffles (part one)

October 24th, 2010

what are truffles? and why do they cost so much money!

Truffles are a subterranean fungus (although their botanical names identify them as a tuber) that grow near tree roots (primarily Oak).   Truffles are expensive primarily due to ever-increasing demand combined with an ever-increasingly low production.  Combine that with their  labor-intensive collection and their limited storage and you have a gastronomical rarity to be treasured.

The harvesting and sale of truffles is serious business.  Pigs or dogs (today primarily the latter) root out the subterranean fungus, accompanied by a trufficulteur.   The trufficulteur uncovers the each truffle (but not with his hands) and then replaces the dirt where he removed the truffle.  Once harvested, the truffles are taken to the “truffle exchange” (my term), markets where the truffles are carefully weighed and money is exchanged with a courtier (a truffle broker).

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