Very noire

The mysterious and filthy underground life cycle of the Black Diamond.

It is May and the world outside is waking up. My senses are bombarded with droning sounds of busy bees in my ears; fragrant scents of pollen in my nose and the sight of birds, twigs in mouths, building their nests, filling my imagination with the promise of new life and a rewarding summer. But what my senses do not tell me is that the underground world of tuber melanosporum is also frothing with activity.

We all know the Perigord truffle by the knobbly black object that we excitedly shave over a mouthwatering supper, so that is where we shall start. The truffle itself is rather like the fruit of the fungus. Let's take the example of the cherry. The tree labours throughout the year to create these delicious morsels. They are eaten, carried in the digestive system of, say, a magpie and excreted out in a nice newly fertilised area, where the new tree shall grow. Clever little cherry.