Truffles are so expensive because they need to be found. They grow underground and attach themselves to roots, making them difficult to find and also labor-intensive to actually obtain. They also take about 20 years to become viable. Truffle-finding is a complicated process — that’s why people bring along specially-trained dogs or pigs to help.
Truffles are expensive primarily because they are hard to find. While white truffles are more expensive than black ones, both come at a steep price because of their difficulty to sort and refine. It takes a unique skill to find truffles and often requires hunting dogs or pigs to locate them by smell. Another probable reason truffles are expensive is their high demand. They can be used in a variety of cuisines and tend to please most palates.
Truffles, especially white truffles, are very expensive because they are very difficult to grow. A Hong Kong couple paid 125,000 Euro for a giant white truffle, and another has sould for $330,000! Many people simply find places where they grow in the wild, harvest them seasonally, and often keep the place a secret; pigs and dogs are actually very helpful in finding wild truffles because of their excellent sense of smell (dogs are used more often nowadays because they are less likely to eat the fungi themselves). All species of truffle grow underground, forming a symbiotic relationship with the roots of certain trees. It is sometimes possible to deliberately grow truffles on the roots of a single tree, but this type of farming is so difficult because truffles need very particular soil composition and surrounding organisms to prosper.
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