Along with Italy, Croatia is one of the countries where we find the most white truffles, the market price of which is between 2,000 and 6,000 euros per kilo. This market brings in several million euros each year. Unfortunately, this “white gold” is threatened by climate change.
White Istrian truffles in Croatia can be worth up to 2,500 euros per kilo. Between September and the end of December, shoemakers and walkers go in search of the precious mushroom. Everyone can harvest up to 100 grams of truffles for their personal consumption. Beyond that, a paid license must be obtained from the authorities.
“It is an art of living. It takes you and you return to the forest. Whether you find a truffle or not, we like it or not, that’s how it is “says Darko Muzica, president of the Istrian truffle hunters association.
A European label of protected geographical indication
This treasure that the palate of gourmets appreciates is threatened by several factors: climate change and the cutting of trees, including those whose roots allow the truffle to appear. The association of Istrian truffle hunters wish to obtain a European label of protected geographical indication.
“The soil here is very specific. This gives the white truffle a strong aroma and extreme density”, explains Zeljko Zgrablic, mycologist and forestry specialist.
“We want to protect its habitat, give it added value so that it becomes better known and our entire region benefits”, hopes Ivan Vukadinovic, member of the Istrian truffle hunters association.
Istria is one of the few regions outside of Alba, Italy, where high quality wild white truffles can be found, thanks to a humid climate and alkaline soils that transmit intense aromas.