27th May



Non-European Truffles

The most famous and prized truffles hail from Europe, taking their names from the region in which they are found – the black Perigord truffle from France, and the white Alba truffle from Italy. Summer, or burgundy, truffles are also found across Europe, and though they are not as highly prized as the black and white truffles, they are still quite popular.

As the harvest of truffles from Europe has declined, however, hopeful trufficulturists have attempted to cultivate truffles elsewhere, including Australia and the US. Cultivation in Australia began in the 1990s, and the only truffle successfully cultivated there is the black (Perigord) truffle. Because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, truffles are harvested at the opposite time of the year from European harvests, providing an additional time during which fresh truffles can be obtained. Australian truffles are said to be on par with French truffles for flavor and aroma.

Black truffles and summer truffles have both been cultivated in the US. In California and Oregon, seedlings inoculated with truffle spores have been planted in old vineyards. In Texas, a native truffle species can be found, although it is not as prized as European truffles. Truffle cultivation has also been successful on the East Coast, particularly in North Carolina and Tennessee. Some chefs are now using American grown truffles; since they do not need to be shipped overseas or go through customs, they arrive at restaurants more quickly after being harvested, and thus with more flavor.

Although truffles can now be found in more locales, they are still notoriously temperamental and sometimes do not grow where expected, despite scientific advances in understanding how they are produced. It is therefore likely that increased production will do little to offset their price.

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