“Trouble for Truffles” – 3 things about truffles you need to know


Getting this fungi is anything but fun

by Alexander Quebec

I’ll be the first to admit that, to a guy like me, truffles don’t really mean much, aside from being the name of a type of chocolate. It had never occurred to me that a fungi that grows underground could command such a high reputation. On occasion, I’ll see an offering for french fries in truffle oil and give them a try, they aren’t bad. In fact, I was curious to see what the buzz was about with them. I knew they were a delicacy, but I had no idea how much competition there was to get them, or that there was even a black market for them. For starters…

They are in danger of dissapearing due to climate change


Many wouldn’t think that a fungi that grows underground would be severely affected by climate change, you are wrong. For the past few years, the yields of black truffles in Europe have actually gone down, from 1000 tons in the beginning of the century, to just about 25 tons in recent years. This is due, at least in theory, to the change in weather patterns that have affected the Southern Mediterranean region. Since they are a form of fungi, and therefore need a host to survive, one researcher remarks that “Given the symbiotic fungi-host asssociation, we postulate that competition for summer soil moisture… might be a critical factor for truffle fruit body production, particularly in semi-arid environments,” said one researcher. With a decrease in the supply, this leads me to our next point…

There are organized crime rings centered around truffles


With a decline in supply, there are sure to be less than reputable people out there willing to take the risk to make big bucks. One restaurant in Europe reported a loss of 200 Kilos of truffles, no cash, no other valuables were taken, just truffles. In addition, truffle farmers are getting muscled out of the market with trees being burned down and truffle tracking animals (usually dogs and pigs) getting kidnapped or killed. Competition to sell the real deal is fierce, but there is an alternative, and yes, it’s exactly what you think…

They are on the counterfeit market


DVD’s, Toys, iPhones, The Chinese black market seems to have a counterfeit for every genuine item out there, but did you know that there’s a breed of truffle that grows in China? They were first used to feed the pigs, but later on, someone had the notion to cut some of the European truffles with some of Chinese ones and sell them on the market. The problem, however, is that most gourmands make claim that Chinese truffles are of inferior quality, due to their lack of flavor and aroma. European truffles usually fetch about $1,000 a kilogram, the same ones from China, about $20-$30 dollars. Those same truffles are then imported into Europe and sold for about the same price as genuine ones. To combat this trend, and to stop the spores from the Chinese truffles from taking root in Europe, France and Italy have banned the import of Chinese truffles into Europe.

All this effort for a bit of fungi…

Let us know what you guys think in the comments below.

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