Are you bringing a date to a fancy restaurant for truffles? Here’s a handy list of truffle trivia to impress your date.
1. Truffles are hipsters of mushroom
Unlike other fungi, truffles are underground, making them the hipsters of mushrooms.
Truffles grow only near the roots of certain trees with which they have a mutually beneficial relationship. The truffles get sugar from the roots of the trees and they return nutrients from the soil to the trees.
2. Truffles are said to be an aphrodisiac
You’d probably only want to mention this tidbit if the date is going well or else you’ll end up being creepy.
Since the time of the ancient Greeks, truffles are reputed to be aphrodisiacs. Napoleon was said to eat truffles to increase his masculine potency.
3. Female pigs are natural truffle hunters
The scent of truffles is extremely similar to a male pheromone secreted by boars and humans. For boars, the substance is secreted into their saliva when they court female pigs.
With a good nose for that scent, female pigs can sniff out truffles. Unfortunately, they will dig the truffles up and gobble them down.
4. Now truffle hunters use dogs to find truffles
Because female pigs tend to chow down the truffles they find, using them isn’t very profitable for truffle hunters. That’s why truffle hunters these days train dogs to sniff out truffles since the pooches are less likely to eat the truffles.
5. Truffles used to be much more common
After the discovery of truffle cultivation in 1850s, truffles were widely available and were used by even the common folks on many occasions. However, the production of truffles dropped after 1945 as truffle groves planted in the 19th century stopped being productive.
Now, truffles are rare, leading them to be expensive and are used on very special occasions.
6. A rich dude paid US$330,000 for a 1.5kg truffle
Speaking of food for the rich, Hong Kong businessman Stanley Ho bought a 1.5kg truffle for U$330,000 in 2007. At least it’s good to know that the money raised during the auction went to charities Caritas Macau, Britain’s Consortium for Street Children and Telethon in Italy.
7. Largest truffle in the world is 19.5 cm long
According to the Guinness World Records, the largest truffle in the world is a 1.31 kg white truffle found by Giancarlo Zigante of Pototoska on 2 November 1999 near Buje, Croatia.
The truffle is 19.5 cm long, 12.4 cm wide and 13.5 cm tall. It was estimated to be worth £3,175 (then $5,080).