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truffles in Lalbenque

Tuber melanosporum, the highly aromatic truffe noire or black or Périgord truffle or diamant noir (black diamond) is an obsession in the south of France, which until recently was the world’s number one producer. Since the 2000s, however, Spain has taken over, producing 120 tonnes a year: three times more than France, and four times more than Italy.

Black truffles are fiendishly picky about where they grow. They love undulating limestone hills, poor soil that has never been fertilized, temperatures that range on the average of between 2 and 6C in winter and summer high average of between 22 and 26 degrees. They need water at the right times of year, and the right kind of tree roots. Besides Spain and Italy, they grow in Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and even Greece.

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Text © Dana Facaros

Images by Cahors Vallée du Lot, Dana Facaros, Fæ on Wikimedia Commons, Vayssie Robert Robert Vayssié, Véronique PAGNIER