Dec 28, 2007


Truffles are a rare and delicate type of edible mushroom that grow mainly in France, and Italy; truffles are also collected in the United States in Oregon and Washington.

The truffle has been described as: diamond of cookery, fairy apple, black queen, gem of poor lands, fragrant nugget, black pearl, holy of holies for the gourmet.

Truffles grow underground among the roots of oak, elm, chestnut, pine and willow trees where they form a symbiotic relationship with their environment.

To date, no one has been able to cultivate truffles: they grow randomly in certain regions (44 – 46 degrees north latitude). The more truffle oak seedlings are planted, the more chances exist for harvesting some.

There are three types of truffles – black, grey, and white. Black truffles generally come from France, white from Piedmont and Umbria, Italy and grey can be found in North America.

Pigs, trained dogs and goats are used to sniff out truffles, which grow below the ground.

Truffles produce a chemical almost identical to a sex pheromone found in male pig's saliva. Sensing this odor prompts mating behavior in the female pigs as they rut and try to get at the buried truffles.

People have been eating truffles for almost 4,000 years.

In France, the truffle commerce has always been secretive. Truffle “hunters” try to avoid the taxman as much as drug dealers. Of course, black truffles found only in southeastern Var and Perigord regions of France are very expensive. They are rare (depending on weather condition, can become even rarer) and very time consuming to find. They grow underground (30cm) and must be “hunted.”

These days a kilo costs US $800 in French markets. By the time we get them in North America the price may be as high as $1,500 to $1,800, pending on store location, and fame of the establishment.

In 1892, French truffle production was about 1,000 tons.

Today average production is below 100 tons.

Truffle History
Pasta alla Chitarra con Fungi

Truffled Bresaola Salad

1 comment:

shannon said...

Hi Lionel,

My name is Shannon and I'm the editorial assistant at I am very impressed with the quality of your posts and to that end, I’d like to invite you to be a part of our newly launched Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program. I would love to send you more details about the program, so if you are interested, please email me at

And thanks for sharing all that truffle trivia! I now feel so much more educated with respect to those 'shrooms.


Shannon Eliot
Editorial Assistant,