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HomeLatest NewsThe 'boom' of the cultivation of the Spanish black truffle supersedes the...

The ‘boom’ of the cultivation of the Spanish black truffle supersedes the French business

Date: March 30, 2023 Time: 10:17:13

Abejar, a municipality in the province of Soria, Molina de Aragón in Guadalajara, Daroca and Sarrión from Teruel, Vic in Barcelona, ​​Vistabella del Maestrazgo in Castellón… …and with the same protagonist, the black truffle ( tuber melanosporum ) or also recognized as the ‘black diamond’ of the Spanish countryside. In the middle of the season and about to end on March 15, Spain has become the world’s leading producer, displacing France, of this gastronomic treasure.

Last year, more than 100 tons of black truffles were produced in the country, 60% of the world total, and 80% of them were exported to the north of the Pyrenees. The Perigord (southwestern France) is no longer the capital of the truffle, which can now be found in the northeast quadrant of the peninsula. Valencia, Castellón, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Soria, Teruel, Zaragoza, Huesca, La Rioja, Navarra, Tarragona, Barcelona, ​​Lleida… , more than 25 million euros in exports.

The six main Spanish truffle exporting provinces are Teruel, Lleida, Huesca, Valencia, Soria and Tarragona and the companies based in them account for 95% of the total truffles shipped abroad. In Spain there are a total of 29 provinces that sell some kind of truffle outside the national borders and there are provinces, apparently with little truffle tradition, such as Álava, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga or Cáceres, which export are also listed in loiciales deonistros de truffles.

The municipality with the most truffles in the world

Sarrión in Teruel, with barely 1,200 inhabitants, is the municipality that is home to the largest truffle-producing area in the world, with nearly 3,000 hectares devoted to its cultivation. But not only Sarrión. Almost the entire Turolense region of Gúdar-Javalambre has calcareous soils suitable for the development of this species of fungus. Further south, around the town of Riopar in Albacete, there are also mycorrhized trees with truffles that enhance the value of land that had ceased to be profitable for its owners, as in the rest of the country.

The Castellón regions of Els Ports and El Maestrat are also known worldwide for their quality black truffles. Between holm oak groves and the last redoubts of Valencian oak, the towns of this region also hide this black gold of the mountain under their subsoil. Graus and the northern area of ​​Huesca are also known for their truffle quality. In the north, the Álava truffle is also beginning to be known and in Catalonia we must not fail to overlook the great collecting tradition that exists around the “tofona”, as it is called there. Proof of this is the town of Centelles, where one of the most important fairs in the area has been held in recent years. The municipality of Villaciervos in Soriano is home to one of the largest truffle farms belonging to the Arotz company, as well as Abejar and the surrounding towns that host a large forest area dedicated to truffle farming.

Contrary to what may be popular belief, the wild truffle hardly exists. Almost all of its production occurs in controlled plantations, and in Spain there are currently 15,000 hectares devoted to truffle cultivation and according to the Truffle Growers Federations, “1,000 more” are added every year, so that 300,000 truffle trees are planted annually as holm oak and robello (holm oak and young oak). It is the fever for a flourishing business, since the kilo of black truffles is quoted at origin between 300 and 600 euros and in the market it can reach a price of 1,500 or 2,000 euros.

Thus, hectares are expensive in truffle areas where a square meter of land is worth six to seven times more than ‘normal’ agricultural land in another area to plant cereals or any other crop. Once the land is acquired, the process is as follows: you have to go to a nursery, buy pots of holm oaks or oaks whose roots have been grafted with truffle fungus spores, and plant them. A process called mycorrhizal. Wait eight to ten years, release a dog on the ground and it begins to mark the truffles one after the other. A seemingly simple process, but one that has its risks. Hence this mushroom is so valued. “It’s like playing the lottery,” says José, a trucultor from Sarrión (Teruel). “If it works out it’s a great deal.”

The cultivation of black truffles is a business that, according to sources in the sector, already generates between 5,000 and 7,000 jobs in Spain. But why is this black fungus so appreciated, the approximate size of a golf ball and which occurs in winter, since the cold concentrates its flavor and aroma? Because it is a gastronomic delight that, with just a few grams, enhances the flavor of the most varied culinary recipes, from a simple scrambled egg to the most sophisticated haute cuisine dish. In Spain there is little tradition of consumption and now it is beginning to develop. Hence, between 80%-90% of production is exported. The great consumers of the Spanish truffle are France and Italy, where there are weekly markets where it is a common product and in some the only one.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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