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  • Luxury cousins of the mushroom,

  • truffles are an indulgent food enjoyed across the world.

  • But these fragrant fungi will cost you.

  • In 2014, the world's largest white truffle was flown

  • to New York accompanied by a security guard

  • and sold at auction for $61,000.

  • Discovered in Italy, this gigantic fungus

  • weighed almost 2 kilos.

  • So, what is it that makes them so expensive?

  • There are a lot of types of truffle.

  • There are at least 40 species, many of which aren't edible,

  • and new species have been discovered as recently as 2018.

  • You've probably seen luxury truffle products

  • in supermarkets or fancy restaurants,

  • but the unique truffle flavor you recognize

  • might not be real truffle at all.

  • Cheap truffle oil often hasn't been

  • anywhere near a real truffle.

  • Many cheaper truffle products use 2,4-dithiapentane,

  • a synthesized compound containing one

  • of the main aromatic components of foot odor,

  • guaranteed to give it that "earthy" taste.

  • Real truffles are seasonal and pricey,

  • with a short shelf life.

  • They were originally sniffed out using truffle pigs,

  • but while pigs are very good at finding truffles,

  • they're also very good at eating them, too.

  • And these days, dogs are much more common

  • truffle-hunting companions.

  • These fungi can be found across the world,

  • but they all require a very specific climate to grow.

  • While different varieties may have

  • somewhat different requirements, one thing is certain.

  • You can't have truffles without trees.

  • James Feaver: Truffles are always found with trees,

  • and they have to be the right type of trees.

  • Under the ground, the truffle is just the fruiting body,

  • so an equivalent to an apple.

  • And we've also got a lot of then what we call

  • the mycelium, microscopic-level threads,

  • and up to 100 meters in a teaspoon of soil.

  • And this mycelium is actually attached to the roots

  • of a tree like the fingers of glove onto a hand.

  • And it sort of extends the reach of the tree out.

  • And it actually takes up water and nutrients

  • and passes them to the tree, and the tree gives it sugars

  • in return, so to help the truffles, the fruit, develop.

  • Narrator: Even when you have exactly the right conditions,

  • truffles aren't guaranteed,

  • and hunting them is a labor-intensive process.

  • Once you know where to look, you have to sniff out

  • and dig up each truffle by hand,

  • and they can be tricky to find.

  • Feaver: Good boy, thank you, good boy, come!

  • So he just told us there it's still in the ground.

  • So do I want to take it out of the ground or not?

  • It all depends on if it's ripe.

  • If it's unripe, there's no point in having it.

  • So the nose comes into play.

  • And we actually sniff the ground for it.

  • Narrator: It may take a while,

  • but finding a good one can make it worth the work.

  • Feaver: Yeah, that's a nice one.

  • Yeah, that's probably about

  • 70, 80 grams.

  • Narrator: Truffles also have a short season,

  • often appearing for only a few months of the year.

  • And even when you do get your hands on them,

  • they don't last for long.

  • Feaver: An unripe truffle, unlike a tomato,

  • which you could cut from the vine

  • and ripen on your windowsill,

  • once the truffle is out of the ground, the clock is ticking.

  • So it's just sort of slowly gonna degrade over time.

  • So we want to get it out to the customers nice and fast.

  • Narrator: After just five days out of the ground,

  • that pungent truffle smell will have halved.

  • You can farm many truffle varieties,

  • besides the rare Italian whites.

  • Many people have been successful

  • in setting up truffle orchards, but it's not easy.

  • Trees need to be planted in the right soil conditions,

  • inoculated with truffle fungus,

  • and often irrigated constantly.

  • It can take as long as six years

  • before you get a good truffle harvest,

  • and there's no guarantee that the fungi will grow at all.

  • So after all that effort, what do they actually taste like?

  • Ju Shardlow: Ooh.

  • Claudia Romeo: Hm.

  • Leon Siciliano: The smell just made me think

  • it was gonna be really strong.

  • The flavor is actually quite subtle.

  • There's a nuttiness there.

  • There's, like, an earthy flavor there.

  • Ju: Actually quite light and fragrant.

  • It tastes a lot nicer than it smells.

  • It smells like damp socks.

  • Claudia: That's good.

  • I mean, this is the first time I've actually eaten

  • a truffle by itself.

  • You know, it's a bit like mushroom,

  • but it's more of a meaty, meaty bite.

  • Narrator: These days, farming has taken over

  • as our primary source of truffles,

  • and today, 70% of the world's truffles are cultivated.

  • Through the loss of woodland and 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.

  • And climate change could mean that truffles will disappear

  • altogether in the future.

  • Feaver: The weather conditions are so important,

  • not just immediately, over the whole season.

  • We're getting much lower numbers

  • and much lower average size.

  • A truffle is about 70% water,

  • so it needs rainfall to help it grow.

  • Some UK truffle scientists are thinking

  • that your traditional areas,

  • the climate is gonna move further north,

  • and they're not gonna have a truffle industry

  • within I think perhaps 50 years.

  • There's threats, there's opportunities,

  • but rain, we do need rain.

  • When we get a dry summer,

  • the holidaymakers, they're delighted,

  • but I keep crossing my fingers

  • for a bit of rain every now and again.

Luxury cousins of the mushroom,

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本物のトリュフが高価な理由 (Why Real Truffles Are So Expensive So Expensive)

  • 178 7
    Naphtali に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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