Truffle Prices 2024 and Complete Truffle Guide (2024)

Truffle. A true love-it-or-hate-it delicacy, with its pungent flavor and heady scent, the truffle is not a flavor that takes a back seat in any dish and can easily overwhelm the palate if overdone. Ever wondered "What is a truffle?", well, a mushroom doesn't quite cut it... however, the truffle is an edible fungus belonging to the mushroom family. Many describe the taste as earthy, gamey even. Those on the other side of the fence might describe it as ‘musky’ or ‘funky’. Whatever the taste, there’s no denying for those who love it, it’s a unique, rich, and luxurious ingredient that when found on a menu is extremely difficult to pass up the opportunity to taste once more.

Why are truffles so expensive?

Pound for pound, truffle is one of the most expensive foods you can buy. The reason behind such high costs is the scarcity of the produce, truffles are seasonal, extremely difficult to grow, and take many years to cultivate. They also have a short shelf life.

Truffles require a very specific climate to grow and require lots of oak trees, that’s why they’re often found in woodland. Even when all the conditions are perfect for truffles to grow, they are still not guaranteed. When setting up a truffle orchard, it could take up to 6 years before you get a truffle harvest - a business not for the faint-hearted.

Hunting truffles can be labor-intensive as it could take many hunters and their dogs to cover enough ground to find the number of truffles needed to fulfill demand and each truffle must be dug up by hand.

The challenges don't stop there, once the truffle has been unearthed it immediately starts to lose moisture, so it must be quickly transported to customers all over the world to arrive on the plate fresh. All of these expenses can soon rack up

My two favorite foods are potatoes and truffles. They are diametrically opposed, but together they are for me one of the best combinations possible. For example, truffle and potato salad, truffle with mashed potatoes and poultry in half mourning. - Patrick Ogheard, EHL.

The Truffle Market

Let’s take a look at the appetite of the truffle market

In this Google Trends Report, there is an incremental increase in online searches for the different truffle-related terms since 2013. This indicates an increase in consumer demand for truffle and truffle-flavored products. Aside from the large peak in 2020 (due to the pandemic), what’s also interesting is that there is a spike every year around the festive season, demonstrating that this opulent produce is associated with celebrations, luxury, and festivities.

Truffle Prices 2024 and Complete Truffle Guide (1)

Image source: Google Trends

How much is the truffle industry worth?

Truffles are worth big money: The global market is expected to grow to over $6 billion within about ten years.

The truffle phenomenon has swept the globe, leading to an increased demand for these rare delicacies. In turn, this creates the demand for truffle-centric food businesses, those selling truffle-infused condiments, salts & oils, and restaurants - from the high-end to burger joints.

Today, 70% of the world's truffles are cultivated to meet the appetite for them globally.

Are truffles a funghi?

Truffles are the underground mushrooms of the Funghi kingdom. Truffles are edible spores that grow on an underground fungus in the family Tuberaceae.

They usually grow close to the roots of trees in very specific conditions. Unlike other mushrooms which grow abundantly all year round and can be cultivated truffles are seasonal and very difficult to grow.

Are truffles under threat by climate change?

As with all aspects of the natural world under threat from the impacts of climate change, truffles are no exception.

Through the loss of woodlands and general shifts in conditions due to climate change, the number of wild truffles has decreased significantly.

Since the 19th century, production in France has fallen from over 1,000 tonnes a season to just 30 tonnes.

Truffle lovers will be saddened to know that this could spell the disappearance of truffles altogether in the future despite the desire to cultivate them.

Discover what happened when a group of EHL students from the SSTH Hotel Management course who are majoring in Culinary Arts went on a truffle hunt together with a truffle company in Perugia, Italy.

Truffle Price 2024

How much do truffles sell for? The million-dollar question that everyone who loves truffles and those in the restoration business needs to know.

The price of fresh truffles depends on the supply and demand at any given moment, the species of truffle, and the quality of the product. It also depends on whether the buyer is purchasing at retail price or wholesale i.e. for a restaurant. White truffles grown in northern Italy are the most expensive of all and their fragrance is deeper.

Acqualagna, in the northern part of Le Marche, Italy, hosts an annual truffle festival where truffles and fresh truffle products are sold in the market. The whole town fills with the glorious scent of truffles. Well worth a visit.

Learn more about the differences between white and black truffles in this article by one of EHL’s Senior Lecturer Practical Arts, Christophe Laurent.

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The size of the truffle

The size of the truffle plays a significant role in determining its price. Larger truffles are more expensive due to their rarity and higher value. These bigger truffles offer a greater amount of the delectable gleba, or inner part, and less of the outer shell known as peridio. So, not only do larger truffles command a higher price, but they also provide a more indulgent culinary experience.

When it comes to choosing the right size of truffle, it all depends on your culinary needs. If you're planning to prepare a dish with white truffles for a cozy dinner for two, a small piece of truffle, around 10 to 15 grams, will be more than enough to satisfy your taste buds. However, if you're a restaurant owner or chef preparing multiple courses, you might find yourself needing several medium or large truffles to create the perfect truffle-infused dishes. Choose the size that suits your needs and let the exquisite flavors of truffles elevate your culinary creations.

When it comes to purchasing truffles, there is no one-size-fits-all rule. It's important to use your common sense and consider seeking the guidance of an experienced truffle connoisseur. Unfortunately, there are always swindlers out there, so it's crucial to be cautious. Beware those who try to sell you "big pieces that the dog has bitten off during the harvest" at a suspiciously low price.

How much truffle should you buy?

When it comes to the amount of truffle you should buy, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. However, the quality and type of truffle play a significant role. For instance, the white truffle has such a powerful taste and aroma that just a few grams are enough to season a dish.

So, depending on the quality, you can estimate around 5 to 10 grams per person. On the other hand, the black truffle requires larger quantities to fully develop its flavor, and its lower cost allows for a more generous scraping. In this case, it is recommended to consider a minimum of 10 to 15 grams per person.

Truffle prices

Truffle prices are known to be highly volatile, which adds to the allure of seeking out and acquiring these valuable underground delicacies.

Prices can be given per kilogram, this allows for a better understanding of the true value of truffles when comparing the price per kilo side by side. However, it is important to exercise caution when purchasing truffles, as prices are typically expressed in euros per hectogram, or €/hg - equal to one hundred grams.

Furthermore, truffle prices can fluctuate significantly, depending on factors such as availability and size. It is worth noting that a larger size, specifically over 50g, can result in a substantial increase in cost, often amounting to several hundred euros.

How to calculate the price of truffles

Truffle prices are subject to significant fluctuations throughout the year and can vary depending on factors such as the location of collection and the condition of the truffles. It is important to note that harvesting unripe truffles is illegal.

To ensure a successful purchase of fresh truffles, it is advisable to seek the guidance of an expert or renowned seller. Familiarizing oneself with the criteria for evaluating truffle quality is essential to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

The five main factors that determine the prices of truffles.

  • the quantity collected
  • demand
  • the conservation status
  • the size
  • the collection period

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Cheaper ways to experience truffle

Truffle oils, truffle salt & truffle butter

An affordable way to enjoy truffles – particularly white truffles – is infused within condiments. Truffles are soaked in olive oil to infuse the rich flavor into the oil whereas with truffle salt and butter, small pieces of truffle can be found mixed into them - a great way to preserve the truffle flavor long after the fresh truffle would have expired.

Check the label on the truffle product - especially oils - to ensure it is not artificially flavored but made with real truffles. A splash or sprinkle here and there in your cooking goes a long way with such a heady scented oil, so even if your budget will only buy you a tiny bottle for your larder, it is well worth the investment as it will last. Most commonly added to pasta and risotto dishes, it can also be used to add depth to your steak-frites, a touch of luxury to your morning eggs, or even pimp a cheese toastie!

Patrick Ogheard's guide to truffles

The 4 main types of truffle by EHL's Senior Lecturer of Culinary Arts

1. Tuber melanosporum

  • I consider this to be the best black truffle.
  • It's from southwest France, also known as ‘Truffle de Périgorde’.
  • Season: end Nov to mid-March.
  • It’s best used raw or cooked and fresh.
  • Use garlic as an exhauster of the truffle’s flavor. Rub garlic on the mandolin slicer when using it for slicing truffles.
  • The truffle can be kept in the fridge for up to 10 days but not hermetically sealed because truffles release gas. Place in a bowl, cover it with uncooked rice (for risotto), and/ or immerse in grapeseed oil. You can use the rice later – which will have absorbed the flavor of the truffle. The same applies if you place eggs in a bowl with truffles – when you cook the eggs later it will have absorbed the truffle flavor through their porous shell.
  • You can also store this type in the freezer or sterilized. But not hermetically sealed because truffles release gas.
  • You can grow this truffle-like potato underground next to certain trees (chestnut, oak).
  • To find these truffles, you need either a dog, pigs, or flies.

2. Tuber magnatum

  • This is a white truffle.
  • For me, it’s the best truffle in the world. And the most expensive.
  • This one you cannot grow. It needs good sniffer dogs to find it.
  • Grows underground mostly in the Piedmont region of northern Italy and in parts of Greece.
  • Season: Oct to mid-Jan.
  • Keep in the fridge, not in a closed container, and for a maximum of one week. Never freeze this truffle.
  • Use only raw and fresh.
  • Good with white meat, seafood, rice, and potatoes.

3. Tuber aestivum

  • Also known as “summer truffle”.
  • It's cheap and doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Many restaurants use it for the name “truffle”.
  • It is very common during the summer season. You can find it everywhere, in different types of restaurants. You can slice it on top of salads, and different cold dishes.
  • Use it raw, cool, and cold.
  • Season: May to Aug.
  • Do not freeze.

4. Tuber uncinatum

  • Also known as "Burgundy Truffle".
  • Its characteristics are a combination of the Tuber Aestivum because it is cheaper than the Melanosporum, but it has less flavor than the “truffe du Perigord”.
  • Season: Sept to Nov.
  • Grows in shady places.
  • Preferably used cooked, but you can also use it raw.

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Truffle Prices 2024 and Complete Truffle Guide (5)

Written by

Patrick Ogheard

Senior Lecturer & Associate Dean - Practical Arts

Truffle Prices 2024 and Complete Truffle Guide (2024)
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