Super-Luxe White Truffles Are Much Cheaper Right Now, But Hurry

The famous Alba truffles are mushrooming, thanks to a rainy season.

So here's some good news: White truffles, typically among the world's priciest luxury ingredients, are fetching lower prices than usual this fall. Why? Because Alba, Italy, where the coveted mushrooms grow, has seen steady rain lately, leading to an extra-abundant harvest. 

More white truffles = lower prices. Does that mean those white-truffle shavings over your dish won't be costing you a triple-digit supplement fee at a restaurant like the French Laundry? As Tasting Table notes, truffle pricing depends on relationships among the distributors and wholesalers and chefs, so it's hard to make any promises. But the truffles are trading lower now, in any case, at about 30 percent below last year's prices, according to Bloomberg. In dollar terms, that means $109 buys 72 grams right now, compared to 52 grams in 2015. A typical serving size is about 5 grams (so yeah, those restaurant markups, which can run up to $150 for a shaving of the fragrant fungus, are no joke).

But watch out, says Bloomberg: Counterfeiters often pass off inferior white truffles as the in-demand Alba variety. 

"You need to know your dealer, like any sort of dealer, to be sure you get the right stuff," Jacob Kenedy of London's Bocca di Lupo tells Bloomberg. 

This isn't the first time white truffle prices crashed for climate-related reasons; the same thing happened two truffle seasons ago. In the meantime, hurry if you're hoping to see trickle-down economics at restaurants that offer white truffles. The season ends in early winter, and the low prices might come to a grinding halt even sooner than that.

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