Luxury List: The Matsutake Mushroom Japan $2000 Per Pound

This is a sensitive subject for some, as some believe the most expensive mushroom is the white truffle.  The white truffle is a rare and expensive fungus, but it is lacking one vital quality when vying for the title:  it is NOT a mushroom.  Does that settle it?  Now, meet the new contender, Japan’s matsutake mushroom.

The matsutake mushroom of Japan, or mattake, is extremely rare.  We all know how this works-something is rare, therefore it is expensive, the old ‘supply and demand’ strategy for marketing.  Historically the matsutake mushroom is synonymous with autumn in Japan.

So why are the matsutake shrooms so rare?  This has been bugging me.  The plight of this mushroom is literally due to a bug, an insect that eradicates the trees that shelter the sumptuous shrooms.  The decline of these trees has in turn led to a decline in the matsutake mushroom, as symbiotic relationships go.  So the price per pound of this glorified fungus is a staggering $2,000.  Yes.  For fungus.

The obvious inquiry here would be why not just farm the matsutake mushroom?  It seems that a ‘method’ for farming these mushrooms has not been developed, which indicates that a lack of trees to harvest them is a serious problem.  Or it could indicate that those profiting from the world’s most expensive mushroom intend to keep it that way.
So what makes the matsutake mushroom so sought after?  It is renowned for its fruity yet spicy aroma and flavor, an exotic and cherished gift in the Japanese corporate world.  Well, I’d say they beat the hell out of American fruit baskets and fruitcakes, take notes corporate America!

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