Truffles - A Fascinating Fungus

Gardening Tips

Truffles can be a bit of a mystery as they cannot be cultivated or controlled which is why they are so expensive! Truffles are a type of fungi that grow underground with a symbiotic relationship to the roots of certain trees. 

Truffle Tree


Mirian Nice, the assistant food editor at BBC Good Food describes the taste of truffles…

“Imagine, that deep musky fragrance of a brand-new leather jacket. Now add garlic. Not raw or roasted but just softened slowly and lovingly in a whole heap of butter. Finally, yes, OK, they’re a bit mushroomy but on the rich, damp, autumn leaves side of things, not that forgotten jar of dried porcini.”

Read our facts below to find out more about this fascinating fungus!

  • France is the largest producer of truffles, harvesting up to 30 tonnes a year. At the end of the nineteenth century production was over 1,000 tonnes.
  • In the Middle Ages, truffles were associated with witchcraft and sin so people avoided them. However, King Louis XIV of France brought them back into fashion by apparently eating more than a pound a day with his meals in the Palace of Versailles.              
  • Traditionally, female pigs were used to sniff out truffles. However, dogs are more commonly used now as the sows tend to eat the truffles in their excitement.
  • There are more than 100 types of truffles.
  • Truffles like to grow close to the roots of specific trees such as the chestnut, oak, hazel, beech, hazelnut, pine and red alder.
  • White truffles are rare to find as they are only available for three months of the year and can cost up to three times more than black truffles.
  • The most expensive truffle ever found weighed 1.98 kilos and was sold for $61,250 at Sotheby’s New York in December 2014.
  • The truffle has been described variously as a diamond of cookery, fairy apple, black queen, gem of poor lands, fragrant nugget and the black pearl.
  • Truffle chocolates originated from Chambray, France in 1895 and claimed their name because of the resemblance they have to the bumpy exterior of black truffles. The cocoa dusting is to give the feel of soil.

 Discover your truffle growing tree here.

Hazel tree with tube and card
Truffle tree