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Italian Truffles Vs. Chinese Truffles

Chinese Truffles are both cultivated on farms and harvested from the wild in China. The majority of
these truffles are exported out of the Chinese regions of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Tibet. Though they
may be similar to the French and Italian Black truffles, they have an inferior aroma and taste.
This discrepancy in quality is due to a couple factors. Since 1989, China has been undergoing rapid
urbanization and industrialization. This has effectively destroyed much of the truffles’ natural
habitat. Chinese farmers and collectors also employ unsustainable practices when truffle hunting.
They use farming tools such as hoes to extract the truffles which can negatively affect the
underground ecosystem for future colony growth. There are also no regulations currently in place as
to how and when truffles can be harvested. This leads to the harvest of many unripe and small
truffles with little to no taste or aroma.

The farm produced truffles are of lower quality as well since the truffles ecosystems may not have
the same soil pH or access to the same quality nutrient sources as in the wild. Other factors that can
also affect the truffle quality are the soil composition and residual agricultural chemicals that can
hinder growth as well.

The Chinese truffles (Tuber indicum) are also not the same species as those found in France and
Italy(Tuber melanosporum). They have a similar appearance composed of a dark textured shell and
dark brown flesh with light veins, but their aroma is naturally lighter than the species found in
Europe.

These factors all contribute to the overall quality of the Chinese truffles. Though they have aromatic
differences, they have flooded onto the market and have been mixed with European species making
it hard for, even experts, to distinguish between the two.

You may wonder why we provided a synopsis of what Chinese truffles are and compared them to their European counterparts. The synopsis provides context regarding the differences in standards between the country and continent. The requirements in Europe, specifically in the region of Abruzzo, Italy(where we get our truffles from), are very strict because different truffle species can only be hunted during certain times of the year, providing truffles the opportunity to propagate. This also ensures the landscape is not pillaged and future truffle harvest are bountiful. Truffle hunters are also required to take classes and register with the government to obtain certification. Each truffle hunter is accompanied by a highly trained dog who sniffs out only the ripest of truffles. These strict guidelines and formal training ensure truffles are of the utmost quality year around while ensuring continual future production.

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