Truffles, the new fad or a delicacy passed on through the centuries? In fact, truffles have been collected for at least the past 3600 years, fascinating all with the opportunity to savor them. The Bible mentions desert truffles, Plato wrote of them, along with many other writers world-wide. Their attraction stems from a tantalizing taste and aroma which, once experienced, is unforgettable. With such intensity in taste and aroma, they are used as a flavoring, rather than a separate dish. Even magical powers and virtues have even been attributed to truffles…An exquisite phenomenon of Mother Nature; forming during the different seasons to provide the natural variety found in the summer, winter and white truffle. Fungi, tuber, in the end simply exquisite.
This rare and delicate tuber grows mainly in Italy, France, Spain, Croatia and Slovenia; though certain lesser used truffles are found in the United States, in Oregon and Washington. They grow underground among the roots of oak, elm, chestnut, pine and willow trees, where they form a symbiotic relationship with their environment.
Of the many varieties of truffles some of the most famous are the Italian white truffle (tuber magnatum), the black winter truffle (tuber melanosporum), and the summer black truffle (tuber aestivum). The white truffle, often referred to as the white diamond, is considered the rarest and demands the highest price.
And once in a while, natures out does itself and spurts forth an enormous white diamond as was the case in the 60's, right in the land of Sabatino Tartufi, where a white truffle weighing over one kilo was found, smooth but at the same time with moon streaks; at the peak of its natural cycle..the beautiful phenomena of nature. For all of us gourmets, a delicious and precious fruit.
Types of Truffles
Tuber Aestivu Vitt
Otherwise known as Black Summer Truffle; it is available and consumed from June to October. Quite similar to the Black Truffle, it has a strange crust of black with bit of a brown color. The flesh is bronze with tiny veins that disappear after cooking. To the palate it is quite delicate and pleasant.
Tuber Brumales are harvested between the months of November and March. It has a rounded, dark patchy appearance that is quite fragile. Inside you will find a translucid flesh with large white veins that are spaced widely.
Brumale'a have an earthy taste that is reminisant of humus soil with a slight bitterness to the palate.
Tuber uncinatum Chatin has a black outer shell with a brown flesh with continous white veins.
Their scent resembles mushrooms and their taste varies from an equal bitter taste that is repalced with a hazelnut taste.
Tuber mesentericum are the most common truffle but not as quite as popular as its counterparts. They are generally harvested from September. It round and bumpy with a brownish black outer appearance. The flesh is beige at maturity and like many other truffles it has continouos white veins throughout its flesh.
Black truffle other wise known as the black Perigord truffle is named for the Perigord region of France and grows exclusively with oak. They can be found in late autumn and winter. The size varies and can reach up to 7cm and weigh up to 100g.
It has a roundish shape and usually of black cloring.Black truffles absorbs all the rustic, subtle, strong, intense essences the soil has to offer.
Tuber Magnatum Pico
Tuber Magnatum Pico is limited to Italy and some regions of former Yugoslavia. The harvesting time for this tuber is October to December.
The flesh of the white ranges from pale cream to brown with white marbling. Alba truffles have an aroma similar to deep-fried sunflower seeds or walnuts. Truffles command a high price because they are considered a delicacy.