Climate change might be threatening your truffle fries.
Warmer and drier climate is hurting European truffle production including the prized Périgold black truffles, which go for more than $600 a pound.
Paul Thomas of the University of Stirling led the new research, which analyzed the future threat of climate change of European truffle production. Italy, France, and Spain produce approximately 95% of the world’s supply. Thomas predicts production will decline by 78-100% between 2071 and 2100, which could be accelerated by heat waves, forest fires, pests, and diseases.
Thomas worked with Ulf Büntgen at the University of Cambridge to study records spanning 36 years on truffle yield in France, Spain, and Italy. They correlated data with local weather conditions to predict the likely impact of climate change on truffle yields. Thomas found increased summer rain and summer temps reduced truffle’s winter harvest.
The truffle industry is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and the ingredient is a delicacy in the culinary world. The Périgold black truffle has an earthy, robust aroma. The flavor has notes of hazelnuts, mint, and forest mushrooms.
But there might be a way to save the truffles. Growers will need to change cultivation practices and also explore new regions for growth. Truffles are now grown in Australia, New Zealand, South America, and the United States.