Home / About Chinese Truffles/ The Good, The Bad, The Chinese Truffles

Perhaps the most frequently asked question we receive is: Do Chinese truffles have the smells and flavors? We know the implication is: are Chinese truffles the same as French ones or Italian ones? Or as good as them?

Our answer is: Yes, Chinese truffles have aroma, but not as strong as French or Italian ones. However, we think it's not fair to compare in this way. For one thing, truffles lose the aroma and the flavor after having being harvested from under the ground and in order to enjoy the maximum aroma and flavor of truffles, it's best to consume them within a few days after harvesting. Chinese truffles are hunted and harvested in the mountainous areas of Yunnan and Sichuan, and then transported to Kunming or Chengdu for processing and at the point of being ready for export, 10-14 days might have passed. Plus the 3-5 more days shipping time from Kunming or Chengdu to major European cities, they might be already 3 weeks old when they're bought and consumed by the customers. Much of aroma and flavor have been gone. This happens to any truffles. We once bought several pieces of French black truffles from Perigod and when we got them in China, they were about 10 days old and they had very strong aroma - much better than any Chinese truffles. we put them in the fridge room and after one week, they smelled the same as 3-week-old Chinese truffles.

Then, a question comes: Do the very fresh Chinese truffles have the strong aroma as the very fresh French truffles do? To our knowledge, nobody has done this comparison. Based on our experiences, our answer is No. The fact is that 10-day old French black truffles still have stronger smell than 3-day old Chinese black truffle. Why is that? - since Chinese and French truffles are so much alike? What makes the differences?

We leave the biological part for the scientists and we know two factors that make the differences.

1. Since 1989 when Chinese truffles were exported, the whole china has been undergoing rapid urbanization and industrialization for the last 25 years and this has greatly affected the habitats for truffles and so the quantity and quality of truffles. 10 years ago, very big truffles could be easily found by the amateurs like us and they had very strong and penetrating smell. We remembered that we left one piece of truffle in the office and the next day everyone in the company sniffed it. Nowadays, the smell is a lot weaker and it gets more and more difficult to find the super-big truffles. In recent years, people have begun to realize the importance of environment protection, the measures such as "returning grain plots to forestry" and "large-scale afforestation" has been taken. Hopefully, this will fix the damaged habitats gradually.

2. Chinese farmers always hunt the truffles in a extensive way. Firstly, they usually use the farming tools like hoes and rakes to dig the truffles out. Secondly, there is no such organization in China to regulate when or how to harvest the truffles. Chinese farmers harvest the truffles in a savage way, not only producing lots of truffles small and premature, but also damaging the micro ecosystem that is vital to reproduce quality truffles. From what we can see, it may take 10 years or more for Chinese farmers to finally adopt the delicate hunting methods and managing system.

While the old habitats are being damaged, fortunately, it seems amazing that farmers always find new truffles production zones and areas and so the harvest quantity has never been deficit facing with the overseas demands.

We write the above contents in an honest way in response to the questions asked about Chinese truffles over and over again. In our opinions, despite all the weakness and problems, we think Chinese truffles are still a great business for us to do because they have the undeniable values:

1) Gastronomically, Chinese truffles might not be good for top-end restaurants, but they can be widely consumed in many ways: as an ingredient to sausages (great idea),canned truffles, truffles in pet glass jars, truffle oil, truffle sushi and as an important part of truffle-related dishes for all the non-top-end restaurants and much more affordable. With a little technique, they may even taste great. French and Italian truffles are like LV or Gucci, and Chinese truffles are like supermarket handbags. Terrible analogy, but you get the point.

2) Nutritionally, Chinese truffles have high protein, low fat and carbohydrates, and they are cholesterol free and 100% organic - perfect for vegetarians and those who are having diets. The last but not the least, truffles have long been considered an aphrodisiac - 100% natural aphrodisiac, think about that. Chinese farmers steep the truffles in Chinese distilled spirits and after one or two drinks, you do feel the boost though it smells like semen.
truffle spirit

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