The truffle is a hypogean mushroom (lives underground), which grows under the roots of the trees typical of our territories such as oaks, hazels, poplars and limes: thanks to the symbiotic relationship called mycorrhiza, the truffle and the plant water, nourishment and mineral salts are exchanged.
The truffle has a bark called peridium outside which can be smooth or wrinkled, while inside it consists of a fleshy mass, called gleba, which is different based on the type of truffle
The four main species of Truffle used in cooking are the White, the precious Black, the Bianchetto and the Summer Black.
White Truffle (also called Trifola) or Tuber magnatum Pico:
Harvest: from October 1st to December 31st, according to regional calendars.
Organoleptic characteristics: the smooth surface of ocher yellow or olive-yellow colour.
The internal pulp is yellowish-white with brownish shades that vary according to the ripening, the type of soil and the type of the plant in which it lives in symbiosis: for example, the truffles that are born near an oak have a hazelnut coloured gleba, those that live near the beech trees they are more reddish.
It has an unmistakable and particularly accentuated perfume.
Habitat: it is widespread especially in Umbria, Piedmont, Tuscany and the Marche.
Black Truffle from Norcia or Tuber melanosporum Vittadini
Harvest: from November 15th to March 15th, according to regional calendars
Organoleptic characteristics: the peridium appears as a black warty surface, sometimes with small reddish areas if the product is immature. The gleba is black-brown in colour with very dense slight whitish veins. The scent is aromatic, not too pungent and the flavour is always delicate.
Habitat: Widely spread in the Central Apennines, in Piedmont and in Veneto, it can be cultivated in suitable land specially reforested with particular tree species.
Black Truffle (also called Scorzone) or Tuber aestivum Vittadini
Harvest: from May 1st to August 31st
Organoleptic characteristics: the peridium has a black colour, with the typical large protruding warts which characterize it.
The gleba is hazel coloured with numerous whitish veins, more or less subtle.
The scent is more delicate than other black truffles and the flavour recalls that of porcini mushrooms.
Habitat: the black summer truffle enters into symbiosis with many types of plants such as hazel, hornbeam, beech, birch and pine.
It can be found throughout the central Apennine area and in Campania, Emilia Romagna and Piedmont.
Bianchetto Truffle (also called Marzuolo) or Tuber borchii Vittadini or Tuber albidum
Harvest: from January 15th to April 30th
Organoleptic characteristics: the peridium is smooth and the colour can vary between ocher white and dark or very dark orange.
The gleba which is initially whitish, with maturation assumes a brown and reddish colour, also has rather branched and whitish veins that darken over time; the perfume is penetrating and reminiscent of garlic.
Habitat: the Bianchetto Truffle is a much more wide variety than other species, it can be found in deciduous and coniferous forests throughout Italy thanks to the ability to adapt to various types of soil, it can enter into symbiosis with many species of plants