The stories behind some of the world’s most desired luxury goods are often gems in their own right, and they can offer cautionary tales. Consider the season four wrap-up of So Expensive, a compilation of short video reports on the sourcing and production of a variety of luxury goods broadcast by Business Insider and narrated by Charlie Floyd. For great conversation starters, behind-the-scenes looks at high-end goods and the occasional consumer alert, savor these videos – even if you’re not in the market for truffles or handmade paintbrushes.
Luxury products are expensive for a reason.
High-end goods may be rare or perishable. They may require specialized craftsmanship or benefit from faddish or illusory cachet.
In the ranks of luxury indulgences, truffles rank as one of the most expensive, ephemeral pleasures. Traditionally, truffle pigs sniffed out the pricey fungi, but dogs now often do the hunting. Dogs have the added benefit that – unlike pigs – they don’t eat consume what they find. The need to harvest truffles by hand also boosts their price.
Truffles have a distinctive, delicate yet earthy flavor and require a certain climate and a setting amid specific types of trees. Some farmers have established truffle orchards by introducing truffle spores at the roots of appropriate trees, but realizing results takes more than five years. Even the most exacting conditions don’t guarantee truffles will grow.
Still, such farmed operations now provide most of the truffles people consume. This matters because climate change may endanger wild truffles. When you see truffle oil in the market, be aware that it isn’t a substitute for real truffles ...
Video journalist Charlie Floyd narrates the So Expensive Season 4 Marathon. Other contributors include Andy Ash, Jack Houston, Clancy Morgan, Ju Shardlow, Leon Siciliano and Brett Jordan.