Truffle orchards and woodlands

April 5, 2018

Truffles are highly sought-after in France. The rare form of mushroom is actually a luxury food item. The truffle can be enjoyed at home or in a restaurant, but is only cultivated in some, closely-guarded areas of France – although contrary to general belief, not only in the southwest. It thrives in harmony with certain trees.

Truffles are thus produced in various parts of France, from the southeast to Languedoc-Roussillon, including the Causses, Aquitaine and Poitou-Charentes, and up to the Jurassic boundary of the Parisian basin. Very special care is required, along with excellent knowledge of the art of truffle-growing. Here, we are not concerned with forests as such, but with wooded plots and truffle orchards or groves.

Tuber Melanosporum is the Latin name for the black truffle.

It is the fruiting body of a subterranean mushroom that grows in close association with a tree, usually the downy oak or holm oak.

What different types of truffle are found in France?

The best known species is ‘Tuber Melanosporum’.

It is the most frequently harvested and is highly prized by gourmets, so it has a higher value.

Characteristics of Tuber Melanosporum, or the ‘black Périgord truffle’

 

Rounded shape

Black pocked skin

Black-purple flesh, permeated with very fine, white veins

Powerful aroma

 

Production regions: Southwest (Languedoc Roussillon, Midi Pyrénées and Dordogne) and southeast (Drôme, Vaucluse and Alpes de Haute Provence) France.

 

However, there are several other species:

Characteristics of Tuber Brumale, or the ‘winter truffle’

This is often mistaken for Tuber Melanosporum.

Generally spherical with bumps on its surface

Black-ish to dark gray skin, with thick, well-spaced white veins

Pleasant musky aroma

Harvested from December to March

 

Production region: same regions as Tuber Melanosporum.

 

Characteristics of Tuber Uncinatum, or the ‘Burgundy truffle’

Oval to round shape

Black skin with a network of hook-shaped spores. Very numerous white veins.

Very intense aroma

It thrives in harmony with a wide range of trees (oak, walnut, hornbeam, beech and pine). 

Not very demanding in terms of temperature or soil quality.

Harvested from September 15 to January 31.

Production regions : mainly Burgundy.

 

Characteristics of Tuber Mesentericum or ‘Bagnoli truffle’ 

Oval shaped, no bigger than a hen’s egg, with a large inner cavity

Dark brown or chocolate-colored skin It is marbled with a maze of white veins

Very distinct flavor (almonds)

Harvested early in fall

 

Production regions: Mainly northeastern France and Lorraine, but also found in Burgundy.

 

Characteristics of Tuber Magnatum, or the ‘white truffle’

Irregular sphere shape

Smooth ochre color with white, marbled flesh

Powerful aroma

Sparse production but the white truffle is found naturally in the Italian Piedmont (Alba). It grows in symbiosis with several species (poplar, linden and oak), preferring clayey soils, often along rivers and streams. Fruits in summer/fall and winter.

Production regions: Italy and the Piedmont mainly, but also Croatia and occasionally found in Hungary.

 

It is possible to establish your own truffle orchard in France using the mycorrhiza plants developed by the INRA research agency.

Truffle cultivation requires knowledge of silviculture and of the economic context. The truffle is a very noble product!

We therefore strongly recommend that you contact us at Forêt Investissement. We can help you choose a specialist if you are looking to grow and produce truffles. In fact, our founder, Jean-Philippe Roux, grows truffles himself!

Forêt Investissement regularly has truffle groves for sale so why not set up an alert, and we will let you know when a property that matches your criteria comes onto the market.

Legally, truffle groves are registered as such, but you may also found truffle fields listed as woodlands and forests, grassland or other land types.

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