Different kind of truffles:
- Tuber Magnatum Pico • White Truffle (Alba)
- Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini • Black Winter Truffle (Périgord)
- Tuber Uncinatum Chatin •Burgundy Truffle (Autumn)
- Tuber Aestivum Vittadini • Black Summer Truffle (Saint-Jean)
Tuber Magnatum • White Truffle (Alba)
The white truffle, like the other species of truffles, is an underground fungus that lives a symbiotic life with a tree. It is connected to the root of the host tree. Unlike the black truffle, the white truffle grows only wild.
When: The ripening period is from September to December. November is the biggest “harvest” month.
Skin: Also called peridium, the skin is smooth, pale cream, yellowish, with sometimes bright red spots and a brown cracked area.
Shape: Can be evenly or irregularly shaped. White truffles are from the size of a cherry to a grapefruit. They are found at a depth from approximately 2” to 10”.
Flesh: Also called gleba, the flesh is first gray white, then beige or light brown tainted with a touch of ochre with veins.
Perfume and Taste: Intense, earth, garlic, shallots and grana cheese.
Soil, climate: The white truffle grows in woody areas. The soil must be quite rich in limestone, poor in phosphorous and nitrogen, rich in Potassium, with a PH between 6.8 and 8.5, poor in organic matter. Soil needs to be able to retain humidity and needs to be soft and fine, like a powder. For example, along the banks of streams, along cultivated areas and in the middle of woods and forests are good spots for white truffles to grow. They don’t need a lot of light and the temperature variation during the day should be minimal. Climate needs to be temperate. Dry summers are not good for white truffle growth.
Where: In Italy and Istria. In Italy, the white truffle is found principally in Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Molise, Tuscany and in lesser quantities in Lombardy, Umbria and Abruzzi. Istria is the region that lies in Northern Croatia and the white truffle grows in the region of the Motovun woods near the village of Livade and in the valley of the river Mirna. We also start to find white truffles in Eastern Europen countries (ex: Roumania)
Trees: Oak, hazel, poplar trees, and to a lesser extent willow, lime, beech trees.
Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini • Black Winter Truffle (Périgord)
When: The ripening period is from December to March.
Skin: Small pyramid shaped warts, black with sometimes dark brown patches.
Shape and Size: More or less round. Size varies from a hazelnut to an orange. Shape and size do not affect the quality of a truffle. Smaller truffles are as good and intense than larger ones. Truffles that grow in the mountain areas and in rocky grounds tend to be distorted. Truffles that grow in sandy areas tend to be round.
Flesh: First white, then gray and eventually black at maturity with a hint of purple and with distinctive white veins. Crunchy and soft.
Perfume and Taste: May vary depending on the “terroir”. The perfume may range from wet mushroom, humus, hazelnut, chocolate, and strawberry to alcohol!
Earth/Soil: calcareous, aerated, not too clayey, needs to drain and dry well
Climate: cold winters without too much frost. Humid and mild springs. Hot summers with heavy rains in July and August. Alternation of sun and rain is best. Good irrigation is necessary.
Host trees: oak, hazel, poplar, willow trees
Where: France (Provence/Vaucluse - Périgord), Italy (Umbria – Tuscany - Marche), Spain (Soria - Teruel - Aragon), Western Australia (from June to August), NSW, Victoria and Tasmania (end of June to September).
Tuber Uncinatum Chatin • Burgundy Truffle (Autumn)
In Season: September to January
Shape: Medium size to large, more or less round
Skin: Small flattened pyramid shaped warts. Black
Flesh: Dark brown to chocolate at maturity with numerous white veins
Perfume: Pleasant, stronger than tuber aestivum. Mushroom, hazelnut
Tuber Aestivum Vittadini • Black Summer Truffle (Saint-Jean)
In Season: May to September
Shape: Medium size, more or less round
Skin: Large pyramid shaped warts, black, tough and firm
Flesh: Beige with numerous thin white veins, light brown at maturity
Perfume: Weak but pleasant, mushroom, hazelnut