Gourmet gold dug up on Island
Friday, May 13, 2011 - 11:10
GARDENINGFINDING a truffle, if you have never seen one before, is a bit like discovering an alien lifeform.
It’s simply not quite 'right’ and its appearance is certainly not one of gourmet delight.
Pamela Foley e-mailed me this image of a truffle she unearthed in her garden, hoping I could identify it.
I’m not a great truffle expert, although I have planted a hazel infected with the mycelia in the hope of producing some and I wasn’t previously aware that a variety of black truffle can be found in springtime.
The well-known Perigord is more usually associated with late autumn harvest but spring black truffles can be found in this country. Helen found hers at the base of a tree stump and it weighs about two ounces, which is priced at about £70 by internet suppliers.
Spring truffles are a little smaller than those found later in the year and have a deeper, nutty flavour.
Depending on the truffle species, they have a symbiotic relationship with the roots of particular tree species in well-drained, mostly neutral, soils.
The much-prized funghi is mostly found quite high up in the soil, just below the leaf litter, hence within snuffling distance of the famous truffle pig or hound or, indeed, Pam.