Hunting for truffles can be an exciting way to combine outdoor exploration and fine dining. Truffles, an underground fungus, are not as easy to find as their above-ground cousins. A little research and a well-trained nose can lead to a patch of truffles. Truffles are found throughout the world, and may even be growing beneath a tree near you. Have any truffles you find examined by an expert before eating.
The shade beneath oak trees is an ideal truffle breeding ground. Truffles can usually be found very close to where the tree's roots meet the earth, though in rare cases truffles have been discovered one hundred feet away from their host tree. Domestic pigs have the natural ability to sniff out truffles. If you have access to a pig, bring him along on your truffle hunt. Dogs such as bloodhounds and German Shepherds can be trained to smell their way to truffles and, unlike pigs, they will happily exchange the truffles they find for a dog treat. Beech, birch, pine, eucalyptus, fir and hickory trees all can nurture truffles.
In Northern California, from San Jose to Eureka and on up to southern Washington state, truffles can be found beneath Douglas fir trees. These truffles are commonly referred to as Oregon truffles since that is where most of this particular truffle is cultivated. They were originally discovered in the region of Northern California between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. The best time of year to find truffles in this locale is from June to September.
Most of the truffles that come to the U.S. arrive via Europe or Australia. Italy, Greece and France are famous for their black truffles. In North Africa and the Middle East, "black kame" and "brown kame" truffles can be found after a rain. Warm, moist soil is the best place to find truffles.
- Utah State University: The Ultimate Treasure Hunt - Finding Truffles
- "Trees, Truffles, and Beasts: How Forests Function"; Chris Maser et al; 2008