After COVID blip, Croatia's truffle hunters back on track


Nikola Tarandek, truffle hunter shows found truffle in the ground, near Motovun, Croatia, November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

MOTOVUN, Croatia (Reuters) - A COVID-19 lockdown and falling demand put paid to Croatia's annual truffle fair this year, but men and their dogs are combing the country's northwestern tip as usual as the winter hunting season for the delicacy gets under way.

The Adriatic peninsula of Istria boasts the humid soil and oak forests that provide the perfect growing environment for black truffles in the hills, and the prized white ones in the valleys.

Their subtle taste and musky scent have made the subterranean fungi a byword for gourmet cuisine since the Renaissance, and they sell for between 500 and 5,000 euros ($595 - $5,950) a kilo.

"This (kind) can go for 4,000 euros (per kilo), a good day, a good wage," said Nikola Tarandek said, a truffle hunter from the medieval town of Motovun, holding a fist-sized white specimen unearthed by one of his two specially trained dogs.

The coronavirus outbreak has this year almost halved revenues from Croatia's tourism industry, which accounts for around 18% of its economy and, along with the export market, is a mainstay of truffle consumption.

"Sales are lower, but some ... are ongoing. It is important ... there are no (restaurant) closures," said Croatia's most celebrated truffle hunter, Giancarlo Zigante.

A restaurant owner and truffle exporter, Zigante and his dog Diana found a 1.31 kg (2.88 lb) truffle in Istria in 1999 that was acknowledged as the world's largest until 2014.

(Reporting by Antonio Bronic, Writing by Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade; editing by John Stonestreet)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In World

Pirates kidnap 15 sailors in attack on Turkish container ship off Nigeria
New Zealand probes first 'probable' community COVID-19 case in months
India to give homegrown vaccine in seven more states this week
Turkey hopes Mediterranean talks can calm choppy waters with EU
Ambani’s Reliance Jio is doubling down to roll out 5G in 2021
Dutch police arrest alleged Asian drug syndicate kingpin
Australia has eye on vaccination drive even though coronavirus under control
Bernie Sanders’ mitten maker marvels over 15 minutes of fame
Trump asked Justice Department to go to Supreme Court to overturn election - Journal
Comment: Let Donald Trump run again

Stories You'll Enjoy