Tuesday, July 28, 2009


A truffle is a fungal fruiting body that develops underground and relies on mycophagy for spore dispersal.

There are hundreds of species of truffles, but the fruiting body of some (mostly in the genus Tuber) are highly prized as a food. Brillat-Savarin called these truffles "the diamond of the kitchen". Edible truffles are held in high esteem in French, northern Italian and Istrian cooking, as well as in international haute cuisine.

The White truffle or Alba Truffle (Tuber magnatum) comes from the Langhe area of the Piedmont region in northern Italy and, most famously, in the countryside around the city of Alba. It is also found in Croatia, on the Istria peninsula in the Motovun forest alongside Mirna river.[6] The white truffle market in Alba is busiest in the months of October and November. The Tuber magnatum truffles sell between $2,200 and $1,000 US per pound (€3800 to €1700 per kg)[8] Truffle hogs have been used historically in Europe to help find truffles. However, more recently, dogs have become preferred for truffle hunting since they can be trained not to eat truffles when they find them.

The Black truffle or Black Périgord Truffle (Tuber melanosporum) is named after the Périgord region in France and grows exclusively with oak. Specimens can be found in late autumn and winter, reaching 7 cm in diameter and weighing up to 100 g.[7] Production is almost exclusively European, with France accounting for 45%, Spain 35%, Italy 20%, and small amounts from Slovenia and Croatia. The largest truffle market in France is at Richerenches in Vaucluse. It is busiest in the month of January when the black truffles have their highest perfume. Black truffles on these markets sell between 200 and 600 per kilogram (USD$130–$380 per pound), depending on the quantity and quality of the harvest.

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