TRUFFORUM: Connecting the black truffle producers with the consumers
The EMI identified several reasons that motivated the Trufforum®. Among them the most relevant are:
a) Increase in production. Promote domestic consumption in producer countries.
b) Lack of knowledge about the different species of truffle on the market by the final consumer.
c) Lack of knowledge of the European regulations on the sale of fresh truffles
d) Demand for technical knowledge in truffle orchard management techniques.
e) Poorly developed tourism around the truffle sector
Trufforum® is an international event created by the The "European Mycological Institute" (EGTC-EMI) with the aim of promoting the responsible use of the Tuber melanosporum in homes and restaurants to educate consumers on:
a) Origins of the black truffle in Europe
b) Species of edible truffles
c) The organoleptic differences between black truffles and synthetic aromas.
d) The importance of quality control to avoid fraud.
e) The most appropriate modes of use in gastronomy
f) Tourism in the European truffle territories
Trufforum® is organized on a yearly basis. The EMI opens a public call every year and the cities that are interested in organizing the event submit an application which is evaluated by an international panel. The main results achieved by the three organized events are:
a) Increased the final consumer’s knowledge about the black truffle world
b) Increased awareness among producers for truffles destined for the fresh market
c) Greater technical knowledge to produce truffled products
d) Increase in private initiatives to produce truffled products
e) Increased knowledge of truffle orchard management techniques
f) Greater interest in the development of trufitourism
As new plantations produce more and better truffles, it is essential to bring the black truffle (T. melanosporum) into mainstream consumers and promote good practices to market it fresh and promote traceability. Given this scenario, increasing truffle consumption in truffle producing countries will be key to not exclusively rely on export. It is necessary to promote the production of quality truffled products with T. melanosporum, taking into account that an important part of the production cannot be used for fresh sale as it is in small pieces. Therefore, it is necessary to organize events like Trufforum® in the producing countries, which will also help to promote quality tourism.
Impacts and weaknesses
Trufforum® promotes truffle consumption and best practices to sell fresh black truffles. In addition, 9 truffle growers’ associations have adopted the recommendations of Norme CEE-ONU FFV-53 on the marketing and control of the commercial quality of truffles. Companies incorporate best practices to produce truffled products with different ingredients (cheese, jam, salt, honey, rise, foie, brandy, olive oil and sausages). Trufforum® has had a direct impact on 9,000 people. However, due to it is an annual periodicity, its impact is limited and we need other parallel events throughout the season.
Trufforum® must complement its activities with the training of cooking school students and with the training of professional chefs for the use of black truffle in their kitchens. In addition, it has to influence the holding of an event that in addition to being attractive to the local public, is suitable for the foreign tourists. Thus, a local product will be internationalized in addition to promoting quality tourism around the truffle sector.