Where of Where have theTruffles Gone? Italian Truffle Harvest Report Fall 2007
Fall is such a great season. The harvests come in and the bounty of the earth can fully be appreciated. New wines begin to appear and the cool nights are perfect for the heavier meals and more complex wines. In the predawn quiet I am alone with my keyboard as note flashes on my screen and fills my soul with melancholy. The Truffles have abandoned us. Perhaps it is global warming [this would explain why Al Gore is so intense] or just the nature of things but Truffles just are not to be found.
Italy's prized white truffles are so few and far between this autumn that prices have soared and some restaurants are being forced to take them off the menu.
White truffles, which are rarer and more pungent than black ones, are pricey at the best of times. But unusually dry weather this year has made it hard for the humidity-loving tubers to grow, making them even more exclusive.
At the Truffle fair in Alba prices are as high as 7,500 Euro kg. That translates to about $ 5,500 a pound. Just sniffing their perfume this year will cost you $50.
Experts say that the long hot summer coupled with steady winds in truffle-growing regions has meant the tubers have not had the underground conditions in which they develop best.
Nestling in the roots of about 50 trees - mostly oaks but also hazels, poplars, mulberries and willows - truffles are rooted out by specially trained dogs.
The average weight of the few white truffles harvested so far this year is only 150 grams, while in other years 300 grams has not been unusual.
Despite the high prices this year, the white truffle's appeal appears undiminished. As proof of this, truffle farmers note that for the first time ever there will be a delegation of Chinese buyers at Florence's international truffle auction on December 1.
Tags: Italian Recipes Truffles Risotto Alba Gourmet Foods Travel Italy