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A Truffle Abundance at the End of the World

8

HaveHave you ever seen an option to “add shaved truffles” on a menu? If you’re at a restaurant that offers that possibility, it already says something about the state of your finances, but even then, adding shaved truffles still feels like a choice you would make if you were in a Brewster’s Millions situation, like ordering one of everything or telling the bar everyone’s drinks are on you. The Périgord truffle, also known as the prized winter black truffle, is around $1,500 a pound. The Piedmont white truffle, which is only found in the wild, can cost over twice that. Unless you count the truffle oil-laden fries of the mid-aughts, which no self-respecting truffle enjoyer would, the decadent flavor of truffles is still mostly reserved for more rarified meals.

That’s largely because truffles are an incredibly finicky crop, difficult to propagate and time-consuming to harvest. “It’s not really like traditional farming because you don’t just plant them and then the next year you harvest,” says Ryan Jacobs, author of The Truffle Underground . Instead, the fungi have a symbiotic relationship, called ectomycorrhiza, with the roots of certain trees. “You need about 10 years before you figure out whether the fungus […]

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