Truffles are one of the most beloved ingredients, which can be found in many high-end restaurants. Even the cheaper truffle oil-infusions can be seen in home kitchens, used sparingly but lovingly. However, whether or not it is vegan, is where we need to distinguish a line.
Truffles by themselves are a type of ‘fruiting body of a subterranean ascomycete fungus. Truffles are ectomycorrhizal fungi and are therefore usually found in close association with tree roots’ according to Wikipedia. All of that sounds plant based, and to be honest a little yucky!
Now here is where it gets tricky; traditionally truffles would be harvested by making pigs or dogs, who could smell them, sniff them out in the forests. Some harvesters do this as a hobby, and while walking their dogs, find truffles on the way – that they then sell. However, there are others who actually keep these animals specifically for finding truffles.
So where do we draw the line? How do we distinguish whether a truffle is vegan or not? The actual fungi is, but the process isn’t. It comes down to what you believe personally and how strict or blurred your view on this is. We’re leaving the lines open for discussion and would love to hear what the vegan community has to say.