What does one think of when truffles are mentioned? I think of an outer chocolate coating while inside is filled with a variety of different types of filling depending on what kind is bought. Dark chocolate, raspberry, orange, and well you get the idea. But does anyone ever think of mushrooms as a truffle?
What Are Truffles?
Truffles are indeed a type of mushroom and there are four species: The French Black Perigord Tuber melanosporum; the Burgundy Tuber uncinatum; the Alba White Tuber magnatum and the Black Tuber brumale, but to coinsurers these delicacies are also known as “black diamonds.” Truffles are either black or white with variations of the two colors.
Where Do They Grow?
Truffles grow under ground near the roots of oak trees and sometimes near lavender or thyme. Today, they are cultivated on “truffle farms” with orchards of oaks and often these farms are heavily guarded due to the high price for truffles. It takes about forty years for an oak tree to mature enough to grow truffles. However, specially treated young trees can be bought that will mature enough in about ten years to grow truffles.
Truffles, like other mushrooms are a fungus, but truffles need the combination of tree roots, fungus and other organisms to thrive. According to Garland Truffles in North Carolina, soil types suitable for truffle production in the United States has been found in the Mid-Atlantic States as well as North and South Carolina, parts of Tennessee and Virginia. Garland also advises lime to be added to the soil in most areas.
To Find A Truffle
Finding a truffle would be no easy task since they grow under ground except for the talent of truffle dogs. These are dogs that are specially trained to find truffles. (Pigs were used before dogs because of their keen sense of smelling out truffles, but using pigs came with a risk to the humans wanting the truffles: the pigs love truffles and would often eat them as soon as they found them. Therefore it is unanimous that dogs are better at finding truffles.)
To Buy A Truffle
Most of the truffles that are imported into the United States come from Spain, Italy or France. In the US there have been some farms to have success at growing truffles such as the previous mentioned Garland Nursery. The demand is huge and at approximately five-hundred-dollars a pound it’s no wonder why some people are willing to work very hard to cultivate these mushrooms.