Where do the world’s best truffles come from? For the past century or more, the stock response has been Périgord (France) for black ones and Piedmont (Italy) for the rarer white variety. It wasn’t always so. In the Ancient World, these sources were unknown and the Roman poet Juvenal declared “Libyans – unyolk your cattle, keep your harvests but send us your truffles”.
Libyan truffles don’t feature any longer on our menus, but those from the New World increasingly do. For the past three years, a remote farm in Western Australia has produced black truffles that renowned chefs consider equal or even superior to the best Europe can offer. They are exactly the same species – the tuber melanosporum – and originated from tree roots inoculated with the Périgord variety.