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We're honored that you've come to visit our website and have an interest in what is becoming the Great American Truffle Revival. Truffles have been revered and prized for thousands of years. Buried under the earth, growing in total darkness, and hidden from view, the European Black Truffle can't help but elicit passion once you have been blessed by its incredible flavor profile. Come spend a few minutes with us to discover why it is called "The Diamond of Gastronomy". 




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The Truffle: A Brief History

The truffle has long been one of the most prized and desirable mushrooms since the earliest of civilizations. Clay tablets from Mesopotamia, dating back to 2,400 B.C., describe the desirability and delicacy of truffles to the nomadic Bedouin Amorites in Northern Syria. These desert truffle relatives of the European forest truffle, were even mentioned in a 4th century Talmudic passage stating that truffles somehow spontaneously emerged from the soil or air all by themselves. 


We can thank the ancient Greeks (~ 350 B.C.) for the long-held belief that truffles possess aphrodesiac qualities. Aristotle and Pythagoras believed the they acted as sexual stimulants. It's even rumored that the Marquis de Sade and Napoleon Bonaparte consumed them for this reason!


The ancient Romans prized truffles for culinary use and adopted them as unofficial political currency from the mysterious Etruscans. It's said that Pliny the Elder believed that black truffles were a "...spontaneous agglomeration of elemental earth". The philosopher Plutarch of Chaeronea was sure that the black truffle originated from the combination of rainwater, earth and a bolt of lighting. Even the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius loved putting truffles on exotic dishes including flamingo brains and peacock tongues. Some ancient Roman recipes called for truffles wrapped in fat and grilled over an open fire.


During the renaissance, Italian nobles considered truffles a precious gift exchanged as a form of honor and friendship.


The smell of black truffles is very difficult to describe. Descriptions range from sulfurous garlic to a sweet, musky body odor. The "scent" of the truffle is actually created by the fungus itself as well as from symbiotic soil microbes (bacteria). The combined relationship contributes to the black truffle's distinctive sulfurous, grassy and chocolate-whiskey aroma. 


A major component in the aroma is the molecule "androstenone". This natural chemical smells like a combination of sandalwood, vanilla and urine. This is the same chemical produced by male pigs to attract female pigs and why female pigs make such great truffle hunters!


Today, the most common edible truffles are:


White Truffle or Trifola - Tuber magnatum Pico: 

Harvest: September/October until late December

The perfume of this truffle is particularly marked and is very particular, remindful of cheese and garlic; its flavor may seem slightly hot and vaguely similar to that of Italian grana cheese.


Périgord truffle or black truffle - Tuber melanosporum:

Harvest: from 15 November to 15 March

The perfume is aromatic, not particularly pungent, and the flavor is delicate. (This is the truffle we grow in our orchard!)


Bianchetto or whitish truffle - Tuber borchii Vitt.(or albidium): 

Harvest: from 15 January to 30 April

The perfume is penetrating and remindful of garlic, and the flavor, not particularly pleasant, sometimes make it difficult to digest, even after cooking.


Black summer truffle, Scorzone - Tuber aestivum Vitt.: 

Harvest: from 1 May to 31 August

The perfume is more delicate than that of other black truffles, and its flavor is remindful of that of porcini mushrooms.


Smooth black truffle, garlic truffle - Tuber macrosporum

Harvest: from 1 September to 31 December

The perfume is similar to that of the much prized white truffle. Its flavor is very pleasant.


Common black truffle - Tuber mesentericum

Harvest: from 1 September to 31 January

The perfume is characteristic, remindful of bitumen or phenol. The flavor is slightly bitter.


Black winter truffle - Tuber brumale

Harvest: From 1 January to 15 March

The perfume is intense but pleasant, and the flavor is marked but not particularly fine.


Moscato truffle Tuber brumale Moschatum De Ferry

Harvest: from 15 November to 15 March

It differs from Tuber brumale for its stronger smell, more penetrating and similar to musk, and for its spicier, more intense flavor.


The truffle grows underground and a truffle orchard looks like a tree farm. Like all mycorrhizal species, the truffle grows in symbiosis with the roots of very specific trees, 


The black perigold winter truffle is extremely difficult to cultivate, which is the reason for its rarity and expensive price. Researchers blame the fungi's strange sex life for some of the problem. While other fungi can reproduce asexually, black truffles reproduce sexually. They require a "mating" ritual between male and female organisms.


Unfortunately, in the wild, black mushrooms are usually found in single-sex colonies. Even when mixed, they tend to be dominated by one sex or the other. So they have to rely on animals, like pigs or insects, to transport the spores of one sex or the other to the colonies to facilitate reproduction.


Our host orchard of hazelnut trees has been inoculated by a patented strain of the Périgord truffle or black winter truffle (Tuber melanosporum). We conduct constant biological monitoring of our trees, truffles and soil conditions which results in increased yields and significant higher quality. 


CTC is proud to be one of the few U.S. truffle growers in the United States using this hardy and aromatic strain under license from its creators.


Our Host: The Hazelnut

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Truffle Recipes: The Best of 2019



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Why Creston, CA?

Creston may seem like an unlikely place to grow truffles. But if you were to draw a latitudinal line from San Luis Obispo County (Central California) to Europe, you'd wind up in the heart of Italy, one of the homes for white and black truffles.


Creston (named after Calvin J. Cressy) was founded in 1884 on the Rancho Huerhuero Mexican land grant which is located in Central California, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, just 15 short miles from the Pacific Coast. It is blessed with a wonderful climate, The rainy season is relatively short (24" of rain over 49 days). Yet what it lacks in rain, Creston gets, on average, 286 sunny days ranging from a low of 37º in January to a high of 88º in July. Creston ranks 8.3/10 on the BestPlaces Comfort Index!


While the summer is warm and dry, during the Winter and Spring the land bursts into green life and no words can really express the beauty of the hills when they explode in emerald, Kelly, mint, hunter and shamrock greens. 


Our water comes from deep private wells punctured into a massive and pure aquifer holding some of the purest and best-tasting water in the world. 


The bottom line: Creston is a perfect "new" home for the black European truffle. 


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About Us:

California natives, Stephen and Sherrie Krauss, have made their home on the Central Coast of California since 1978. (They've been married for more than 40 years!) Both are accomplished entrepreneurs who have combined backgrounds in the recording, publishing, health and nutrition, marketing and couture clothing design. Sherrie was introduced to the beauty of truffles when taking French cooking lessons. (Sherrie is a phenomenal chef!) It was natural for the both of them to turn their ranch in Creston, CA into a sustainable habitat for one of their passions: the black European truffle.

Contact Us

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Creston Truffle Company

5874 Irongate Road, Creston, California 93432, United States

(805) 549-0275

Hours

Our orchard is in a private gated ranch community in Creston, California. Visitors are permitted on an individual and pre-arranged basis. Please contact us for more information.

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