Truffle hunters in south-west France are already hailing this year’s season a success - with good quality produce found, and a market already in the calendar - two months ahead of the usual peak harvest.
The Georges Brassens market in Brive-la-Gaillarde (Corrèze, Nouvelle-Aquitaine) has organised a truffle market for this Saturday, December 2, with around a dozen stallholders scheduled to attend.
The selling price is expected to be between €6 and €8 per gram.
High-quality truffles early on
One truffle producer has already reported success with his dog Marco, a Lagotto breed trained to sniff out the precious tubers.
Georges Parlange, in Turenne (Corrèze), explained that he and Marco had already found several high-quality truffles quickly in his four-hectare plot. “It is important that it is marbled. The colour counts too [to see if it’s] mature. If it is greyer, it means that it is not yet ripe,” he told France 3.
He said that the weather conditions of the past few months have probably contributed to a good season, despite very heavy rainfall over the past few weeks.
“We have earth that drains a lot here. I would be worried if we had clay soils, but here it is very pebbly, so the water does not stay around,” he said.
Truffles for Christmas?
Not all the truffles will be ripe yet, especially as it is early in the season. The peak harvesting months tend to be January and February.
However some producers say they believe that climate change will cause the season to arrive sooner.
"I think that in the years to come truffles will be ripe earlier and earlier,” said Bernard Reynal, President of the departmental truffle growing group la fédération départementale des trufficulteurs de la Corrèze.
“In 10-15 years' time, or even sooner, we could be having ripe, fragrant truffles for Christmas.”