Chengdu truffles find new market in Europe

After selling mushrooms of the tricholomamatsutake variety to Japan forvery many years, which at the heightof the season in summer meant anaverage volume of about 50 tonnes,mainly transported by Air China, WangJin, director of the Chengdu ShanxingCompany, in 1995 discovered thehigh value of truffles. Before that time,truffles had never been considered oreven used by the […]


After selling mushrooms of the tricholomamatsutake variety to Japan forvery many years, which at the heightof the season in summer meant anaverage volume of about 50 tonnes,mainly transported by Air China, WangJin, director of the Chengdu ShanxingCompany, in 1995 discovered thehigh value of truffles. Before that time,truffles had never been considered oreven used by the Chinese as a food orfood additive.

In 1994 one of Wang’s Japaneseclients visited his farms in ChengduProvince and pointed out that oneparticular area of forest had the correctenvironment for truffles.

While the traditional mushroomscontinued to grow, Wang developedan additional product line for thehigh-value truffles. As a result, freshtruffles are now airfreighted to Tokyorestaurants for their gourmet customers,who have the yen for this delicacy,and lots of yen to pay the bill. Withan established market in Japan, thetraders have now set their sights on theEuropean epicures.

The mushroom and truffles markethas become a big money earner for thelocal farmers and dealers in China. Andthe knock on effect is that the volumesof this high- value product, which arebeing air freighted to the endusers,are increasing. In addition to happyfarmers and dealers, the carriers arealso enjoying the "fruits" of this newfoundcommodity.

Truffles are mostly collected in thewinter months, and while finding thetruffles sounds easy as they are usuallylying in the surface soil or just a fewcentimeters below, the key is knowingwhere to look for the delicacy.