With the southern hemisphere truffle season concluded, I began to reflect on truffles globally. Where among the myriad terroir existing on this earth are those environments that afford truffles the conditions they need to flourish? During which seasons do they develop? When are they harvested? Inevitably reflection led to dream. Soon I was embarking on my grand global truffle tour, my trusty truffle atlas packed along with warm clothing, old boots and a blunt knife. Perfectly provisioned to visit my earthly truffle constellation.
So where first? Roughly 100,000 acres of truffles grow in Spain, France, and Italy, providing about 80 per cent of legal supply. But where else?
Apart from the obvious commercial growing regions in France, Spain, Croatia, Italy and Australia, truffles also grow wild in the forests of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and North America. Basically wherever the conditions are similar to the sub-Mediterranean climate.
Keep in mind this is more an enthusiastic adventurous idea conceived in times without travel, rather than a deeply esoteric essay. There may well be proud countries/tubers I’ve omitted – in fact, I’d love to hear from you and finish with a collaborative world truffle atlas!
Oh the places you’ll go [for truffles]
- When – end June to late August
- What – Australia has thousands of indigenous truffles but few are edible, Tuber Melanosporum (black truffle) cultivated
- Where – Truffieres are located all over Australia except the Northern Territory
Baltic – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
- When – September to November for burgundy truffle
- What –Tuber uncinatum (burgundy truffle) Tuber aestivum (summer truffle) tuber melanosporum (black truffle) cultivated, Brumale and Borchii. I also discovered more than 7000 fungal species have been recorded for Estonia
- Where – Found in the Baltic Sea islands of Oland and Gotland
- When – Mid June to August
- What – Tuber Melanosporum (black truffle) cultivated
- Where – Maule Valley
- When – August to November
- What –Tuber sinensis, Tuber indicum and Tuber himalayensis
- Where – Himalayan region of Tibet bordering Yunnan and Sichuan.
- When – Mid September to early November
- What – Tuber Magnatum, Tuber Borchii and summer burgundy truffle amongst others
- Where – Natural habitat. Istria in the northwestern part of Croatia
- When – November to March for black truffles (Tuber Melanosporum)
- What – Again, many varieties but the main, Tuber Melanosporum (black truffle) Tuber Aestivum (summer truffle) and Tuber Uncinatum (burgundy truffle) among other lesser known
- Where – The largest truffle area is situated in the Southeast, namely Périgord
- When – August to December
- What – Tuber Magnatum (white truffle) from 1 October to end December and Tuber aestivum (black summer truffle) from 15 June to end December. Tuber brumale (black winter) from 1 November to mid-March and unique to Hungary, the Mattirolomyces terfezloides (honey truffle) from mid August to mid November
- Where – widespread throughout Hungary
- When – October to late December/early January for Italian white truffle, Alba and mid-November to late March for black truffles
- What – Dozens; however Italy is the only place anywhere in the world that grows the celebrated, and variously called, Tartufo Bianco, Tuber Magnatum Pico or Alba. Other varieties are Tuber Melanosporum (black truffle), summer black and summer white.
- Where – 80% of harvested truffles are black, with 40% of this coming from Abruzzo, Umbria while Tuber Magnatum Pico are generally found in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy
- When – May to November
- What – There is a native truffle known as Huitlacoche, pronounced wee-tlah-KOH-cheh, (Ustilago maydis) or corn smut. The translation from the Nahuatl language being “crow excrement”. Had to add that!
- Where – Wet central highlands of Mexico and Guatemala
- When – December to February
- What –There are more than 10 species of native, or desert, truffles and recently European truffles, like the summer truffle, have been found growing wild.
- Where –Forest of Ifrane in the North of Morocco
- When – June to August
- What – Tuber Melanosporum (black truffle), Tuber Borchii and Tuber uncinatum (burgundy truffle) amongst others
- Where – From Mid Canterbury in the South Island to Bay of Plenty in the North Island
Scandinavia –Sweden, Denmark and Finland
- When – Poetically, October until the first snows start to fall | Burgundy truffles September to November
- What –tuber uncinatum (burgundy truffle) Tuber Melanosporum (black truffle) cultivated
- Where – Gotland, Sweden; Alandia Islands; Finland, Juva north east of Helsinki
- When – November to March for black truffles (Tuber Melanosporum) | September to November for burgundy |
- What – There are many different varieties of truffle, often grouped by colour however I’m going to mention the more obvious, Tuber Melanosporum (black truffle) Tuber Aestivum (summer truffle) and Tuber Uncinatum (burgundy truffle) among other lesser known
- Where – it is estimated that, to date, 60% of black truffle farming in Spain is located in Aragón.
- When – May to end August
- What – Wild truffles and Tuber Melanosporum (black truffle) cultivated
- Where – Indigenous truffles recently found on the chalk downs of the southern and western Cape and cultivated Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga
Tunisia, Libya, North Africa and the Middle East
- When – March to May
- What – Terfeziaceae, the white desert truffle
- Where – Tunisia, Libya, North Africa and the Middle East
- When – May to August for summer truffles | September to January autumn truffles
- What – 2 varieties native to Britain, tuber aestivum (summer truffle) and tuber uncinatum (autumn or burgundy truffle) Tuber Melanosporum (black truffle) cultivated
- Where – Wiltshire and Dorset
United States of America
- When – Oregon white harvested October – February
- What – Oregon black truffle, as well as the Oregon spring white truffle, Oregon winter white truffle and the prized Oregon brown truffle. Tuber lyonia (Pecan truffle, Texas truffle) Tuber melanosporum (black truffles) and Tuber uncinatum (burgundy truffles) cultivated.
- Where – Truffle farming is being developed in Canada and Oregon, where native truffles (highly appreciated by the locals) have previously been cultivated; North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Pecan truffles (also called Texas truffles) are found from New Mexico to the gulf coast and eastern seaboard to the great lakes and eastern Canada.