Thursday, December 23, 2010
Join me on a wonderful exploration of one of the world's greatest treasures, the truffle! This was the first and hopefully many festivals in Napa to celebrate the beginning of truffles in California. I have learned so much this weekend about my beloved truffle. For those of you who think you know truffles, you will discover many wonderful and new facts about this enigmatic fungi. Normally I would write tons of information, but for this trip I came prepared with my camera and took lots of video clips. It is almost like being there! All the information and facts are coming straight from the experts!
The role of truffles in the ecosystems is very important. Truffles are the "fruit" of underground webs of fungi and they are mycorrhizal. Mycorrhizae are essential in assisting trees to obtain nutrients and water from the soil. By watching the videos you will see what types of truffles they plan to cultivate in Napa and what trees are best for the species they are cultivating.
To start off they are going to grow the French Black Perigord Truffle (Tuber Melanosporum) and the Burgundy or Summer Truffle (Tuber Aestivum, formerly Tuber Uncinatum). Both are black truffles. The Perigord Truffle is native to oak forests in the Perigord region of central and southwest France. They are among the most valuable of truffles, costing up to $1,000 a lb. It has a blue-black exterior when fresh, fading to brown-black with age and a pungent, earthy aroma. The Perigord season for northern hemisphere is usually December to March. More than 90% of the Perigord Truffles produced in France today is from cultivation.
The Burgundy Truffle is native to France, Italy, and Spain. To those who are new to truffle the summer truffles are actually at their best in December and can be found from July to December. They have a black exterior and off-white interior, and a relatively light scent.
In the following week I will be trying to upload all the videos so that everyone can see and learn all the wonders of truffles. It will definitely change how you look at truffles and make you ponder on buying land to cultivate some truffles of your own!