Why are Alba white truffles so expensive?

expensive white truffle dish

Every fall chefs around the globe, go to great lengths to obtain fresh white truffle from Alba and diners folk over heaps of money to try them. Alba white truffles are one of the most expensive ingredients.

Why are Alba white truffles so expensive?

Once they are unearthed, the Alba white truffles are sold to purveyors who ship theme around the World.
In fact, the truffles are generated thanks to the symbiosis between fungi and roots of some plants, but why are truffles so expensive? In Italy there are 28 Types of truffles.
The birth and growth of truffles depends on the type of soil and above all the environmental conditions. In fact there are the truffle seasons, that is, depending on the seasons it is possible to find white or black truffles.

Alba Truffle price in October 2018
Alba Truffle price in October 2018

Where to find Alba white truffles

From September to December hunters with trained animals (dogs, pigs), wander the countryside in the Piedmont region (Asti, Alba, Barolo, Barbaresco, La Morra, Neive) in search of these wild mushrooms. Discover where to buy fresh Alba white truffle.
To be born and grow, truffles need moist soils, between tree roots near rivers or streams. You can not find truffles in woods too dark with little penetration of light, truffles, to grow must exchange resources with plants and these need sunlight to be able to make photosynthesis and then yield nutrients to truffles. This is one of the first reasons why are truffles so expensive, due to the difficulty of finding land and roots suitable for their growth.

From this it derives moreover that every season, every vintage is different for the truffle hunting, the climate, the soil and all the factors totally influence the formation of the white and black truffles.




Black truffle hunting

When to look for truffles and how much they cost

If the temperature, the humidity, the sunlight are favorable to the growth of the truffle, then we could have a good production of truffles. As for the black truffle, hunting can start from mid-May until mid-March, while for the white truffle the season to find them is smaller, in fact, its findings are recorded mostly during the Autumn. This is one of the reasons why the white truffle is more prized than the black one and why are truffles so expensive.

Why are Alba White truffle so expensive? 

Besides all the previous motivations, that is the total dependence on the environment and the climate, truffle hunting also affects the price. Truffle hunting involves training animals like a dog or a pig. Training animals for hunting requires time, attitude and patience, we must make the animal know the smell and taste of truffles, so that during the hunt know how to recognize the scent also hidden under many centimeters of land. Try to believe, during our Langhe truffle hunting tours, in Asti, Barolo, La Morra, you will know all the techniques and try the experience of the search for truffle. You will get to know a real Tartufao/Trifolao (truffle hunter) and his dog faith, who will accompany you in the most prolific areas.

italian pizza with white truffle alba
Italian pizza with white truffle from Alba

All the reasons, why are truffles so expensive?

Chefs like to shave them over lightly buttered pastas, creamy risottos and cheese pizzas as well as proteins like steaks burgers and roasted chickens. The blander the base, the more you will be able to zone in on the unusual scent and flavor.

Alba white truffles are not to be confused with Alba black truffle, which are harvested in the late autumn and winter and Burgundy are plucked from the ground in the summer in early fall.
Both of these species are found primarily in Italy.

One last reason that makes the truffle so expensive and its demand on the market. The increase in the demand for truffles and their difficulty in finding them make the price rise, in the same way, in a more scarce vintage, makes them even more precious, becoming a rare pearl of the territory. The most famous white truffle is the white truffle of Alba, where every year the International White Truffle Fair takes place. The land the climate and the plants allow each year to find delicious white truffles. The request for black and white truffles comes from all over the world, the highest paid truffle in the world, was a white truffle of 900 grams and was purchased by a chef from Hong Kong for 100,000 €.

So summing up why are truffles so expensive, we remember the main reasons:

  • Wet and illuminated soil
  • Presence of specific trees such as hazel, oak, poplar, linden
  • Training of animals for truffle hunting like dogs or pigs
  • Request for the world food market
  • Product fragility

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