Shrouded in secrecy, forest locations to go truffle hunting are guarded even from close friends. Truffles use to be the hallmark of local cooking; black in France and white in Italy. Though we probably can’t try to find them ourselves, we can visit marketplaces where they are sold. Ranging from $800 – $1500, visitors can come and compete with the world’s gourmet chefs, celebrities, and business moguls for the limited supply. If you can’t meet those prices, there are a few surprising places to find truffle at the fraction of the cost. Read on to find out where…
Photo from KevinEats
The finest black truffles are known to come from France. Dordogne in particular, situated at the south west of France, in a region called the Perigord. Referred to as “Diamonds of Perigord” the perfume of these black truffles are at its height in January and February, and is also when markets selling truffles are the busiest. Though truffle markets are held in many small towns and villages across the Perigord as well as provence regions of Southern France, you can find the largest french truffle market in Lalbenque, not far from Perigord, in the village of Richerenches.
ALBA TRUFFLES (trifola d’Alba )
Home to the best white truffles, Jay-Z himself spent some time, and money in Alba. According to the Atlantic, he reportedly bought $20,000 worth of truffles here. Another anonymous bidder from Hong Kong shelled out three times the price of gold at$120,000, for two pieces of Alba Truffles, weighing just under 1kg. If you’re looking to check it out, try to get into Alba’s White Truffle Festival. It’s held from mid-October and lasts through late December.
WILLAMETTE VALLEY, OREGON
BLACK AND WHITE TRUFFLES
Photo from Science Friday
Oregon’s Truffle Festival is held in 3 separate locations, on three different weekends in the month of January. It is the only truffle festival that exists in America, and houses both black and white truffles found in the wine, timber, and hazelnut rich Willamette Valley. Though it fetches less than its European counterparts, they still are tasty. The season for harvesting winter white truffles runs from October through March. Spring white truffles are harvested from May through July, and black truffles are hunted from December through March, depending on weather and other factors.
“Thick slices of Chinese truffles are infused in Chinese wine and served as an aperitif to wake the taste buds. (China Daily/Guo Anfei)”
Around 30 or 40 tons of truffles are imported form China to France each year. Although considered “fakes”, these Chinese truffles are so identical that the differences are indistinguishable, even for experts. The flavor is also very similar, and if eaten fresh, the Perigord black truffle and the Chinese black truffle cannot be differentiated. At around $70 – $80 USD, this seems like the more affordable option, compared to France’s truffles, which may go for 10 times the amount. Go to Nanhua County mushroom market, in northwest Yunnan’s Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, to where local hunters sell their acquisitions.
Share this article with all your foodie friends and comment below on when you’ll be making your trip. Help us Tompang it! 😉