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Aug 14, 2013 09:27 AM

have truffle prices skyrocketed in the past 40 years?

i've been reading some relatively old french cookbooks recently (ie the french menu cookbook by richard olney from 1970) and one of his preparations calls for a full 1/2 pound of truffles on pasta.

in san francisco, currently, i believe this amount of truffle would cost well over $1000.

i know they've always been a luxury, but this seems to be around 10x what i would expect to pay, even for an (extremely) luxurious dish.

does anyone have any insight into this?


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  1. I recently bought a large (like a big button mushroom) black summer truffle for $20. I was told it from Italy. I would not buy another one for fifty taste. I ate the whole thing grated and sliced on a place of pasta.

    You can read this 2012 article from the New York Times:

    2 Replies
    1. re: Unkle Al

      "In France alone, the annual black truffle harvest has fallen from about 1,000 tons in the 1930s to about 50 tons now."

      wow, that's crazy.

      1. re: Unkle Al

        " The truffle market is indeed notoriously opaque, with just one family-owned company, Urbani Tartufi, based in Spoleto, Italy, controlling about three-quarters of the truffle trade.

        Olga Urbani, a company spokeswoman, said the price Urbani charged its customers, which included restaurants and hotels, had risen from about 150 euros a kilogram for black truffles 12 years ago to about 1,500 euros a kilogram now, as the harvest declined by about two-thirds. The trends are similar for the Italian white truffle and the summer truffle, she said. "

        also crazy.

        thanks for the link.

      2. Yep, it has skyrocketed like crazy to my knowledge.

        1. There was some youtube video I saw recently, about a huge black market for truffles where in Italy they are peddling truffle products "made in Italy" but using truffles from China.

          That plus truffles being worshipped food porn style like never before, makes it even more expensive and scarce.

          And it really doesn't make seared wagyu beef taste that much better...just boosts the ego :-).

          6 Replies
          1. re: K K

            ":And it really doesn't make seared wagyu beef taste that much better...just boosts the ego :-). "

            That made me crack up.

            1. re: K K

              what's the problem with truffles from china (or oregon, or elsewhere)?

              or do real tuber melanosporum only grow in france/italy?

              i wonder if there is a futures market for truffles...

              1. re: Dustin_E

                Just dug up the youtube video I was referring to.


                It's basically the case of using a substitute, or paying outrageous prices for the non real deal, maybe akin to paying wild Bluefin prices and getting ahi / yellowfin.

                1. re: K K

                  great video, thanks.

                  i got a kick out of reading the comments as well. (all 5,730 of them.)

                  1. re: Dustin_E

                    You read all 5730 comments ?

                    that's impressive.

                    i have a problem when hte hound threads go over 100 comments.

                    1. re: kevin

                      was amused by the first couple pages, then was amazed there were many thousands more. definitely did not read all of them. :-)