Carlos, Kilian and José Vicente met at university. Carlos´s family has always been associated with agriculture and truffles. After the three became good friends, Kilian and José Vicente were influenced by Carlos’s passion for the world of truffles, and more specifically, by his love of Teruel. After finishing their studies, they decided to set up a company that would “provide added value to the truffle sector”. Together with Luna, Daffi, Coco, Blas and Bruno (their dogs and faithful companions) the three friends carry out all the production phases of La Finesse Truffles. We speak with Kilian Zaragoza to learn more about their new ‘made in Teruel’ truffle company.
How and when was La Finesse born?
La Finesse was born one year ago when we—three university graduates—decided to dedicate ourselves to what the Carlos´s parents had been doing for several years. We decided to offer the truffle market something different and, above all, daring: we created a brand that focused on aesthetic value as much as on its customer service, specifically, the gastronomic advice section.
To whom do you sell your truffles?
We mainly focus on the catering sector, although anyone who wants to enjoy truffles at home can order fresh and recently collected truffles from our farms from us; we serve and deliver with the utmost care. We also offer culinary events and experiences aimed at the private sector (brands, private chefs, etc.).
How many truffles exist in the Spanish market and with what types do you work?
There are many varieties of truffles because it is a seasonal product. There is a different type of truffle depending on the time of year (Tuber Aestivum in summer, Uncinatum in Autumn). We are dedicated exclusively to Tuber Melanosporum, which is the winter truffle. This truffle is collected from from the middle of November until mid-end of March. The truffle is grown in areas where there are large climatic differences (a bit extreme) between winter and summer. The climatic conditions are perfect for the truffle in Teruel, where we are located.
Dogs are your best companions. Tell us about your truffle collection process.
The process is all done by hand. We go to the field every day with our dogs, who are part of our team. They are the only intermediary between the field and us. They are our companions. We set out on a search early in the morning and what happens is pure magic. You don’t know where to look for truffles until the dog smells them underground. We are a small team and between the three we do everything in the company: cultivation, working in the field (helped by more family members), brand creation, marketing, sales, distribution, and customer relations… Each piece is fundamental in the process and if one fails, we all fail.
Is there a truffle culture in Spain?
Yes, of course, although not as much as in foreign countries such as France. And what’s more, the modern truffle market niche has become fashionable. These days, it seems that a restaurant that doesn’t offer truffle, is not a good restaurant. Obviously, that isn’t true. I have had knowledge of truffles since I was little. For me, it isn’t something out of this world, but you have to adapt. And we have adapted by launching this brand and we are in love with her.