Love truffles? Hunting for truffles is a favorite pastime for those who love eating these specialty mushrooms, or love selling them. Truffles are considered a delicacy, and come with the price to prove it. While truffles do add another whole level of flavor to luxury meals, they are also hard to find, which is part of the reason why they’re so expensive. In fact, truffles are often compared to the price of gold. Not long ago a truffle weighing 4.16 pounds sold for $61,000. Pretty impressive for a mushroom.
Truffles are more commonly found growing on the roots of oak, poplar, hazel and beech trees as these are the types of trees that can provide the perfect soil conditions that support the growing of truffles. The fact that there’s only so many nutrients to go around is why there are only so many truffles available in any given area. Types of truffles include black truffles, burgundy truffles and Oregon white truffles.
Dogs are often used to find truffles and for two reasons, 1. they can smell truffles making them much easier to find, and 2. by digging they’re spreading the spores, leading to new truffle growth. (While pigs are used, too, they tend to eat the truffles so must be watched closely!) Another common way of finding truffles, mainly used in the Pacific Northwest, is called raking and involves using a special rake to dig the truffles up.
Top 5 places to Hunt for Truffles
The majority of truffles can be found in Italy, France and the Pacific Northwest. Truffles grown in Italy and France tend to be the rarest kind of truffle and therefore the most expensive.
- Villefranche-du-Perigord. France is home to the world’s most famous black truffles, also known as Diamonds of Perigord. The reason? The truffles found here are huge, with one truffle weighing a remarkable 1.3 kg.
- Alba, Italy is often referred to as the white truffle capital of the world, as truffles grow naturally in this Northern Italy location. An annual truffle fair is held here, which lasts for about six weeks and is the oldest truffle celebration in the entire world.
- Pacific Northwest truffles are often found growing under Douglas fir trees, from Northern California all the way to Southern Washington. (The fact that most truffles are found in Oregon is why people refer to truffles found in the Pacific Northwest as Oregon truffles.)
- Manjumup, Australia is the largest grower of Perigord Truffles in the southern hemisphere due to the rich fertile soils and the cool climate found here. Truffle season in Australia runs from June to September, and it all starts with a special celebration held in Manjimup.
- The south coast of the United Kingdom offers lots of truffle hunting opportunities due to the many forests found here that support the growing of truffles. Top forestry choices include Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire and Cornwall.
Happy Truffle Hunting!
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