Truffles are mycorrhizal fungi’s fruit, mainly belonging to the Tuber genus. Mycorrhizal fungi form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of host trees and shrubs like oaks and hazels.
When the truffle mycelium ripens, it releases various fragrant compounds that give truffles their distinct perfume and flavor, as well as their high value. There are undertones of cheese, garlic, fruit, and even phenol in the scent. Dogs can also detect this scent, allowing them to collect truffles if they have been trained to do so.
Truffles typically belong to the Ascomycotina division of the Fungi kingdom, in the genera Tuber, Terfezia, and Leucangium. There are a lot of species, over 40 to be exact, but only a few of them have genuine market worth.
Truffles are a species of fungus that grows underground between 2.5 and 10 cm below the tree’s roots with which it has a symbiotic relationship. While many people think of truffles as fungi, they’re actually more closely linked to carrots.
Due to its scent or rarity, ancient Greeks and Romans used truffles as a fine aphrodisiac. They ate them and used them as medicines.
Discover the many various species of truffles and how to differentiate them based on soil and host plant, as well as learn intriguing facts about these black diamonds.
Truffle Varieties in High Demand
Few truffles are compared to the Australian variety in terms of flavor and intensity. The good news is that these are among the more reasonably priced truffles available.
They are quite similar to truffles found in certain parts of France, and they are only available during May, June, and July, as their seasons are the polar opposite of many other countries where truffles can be found.
Tuber Aestivum – Black Summer Truffle
Tuber Aestivum is the scientific name for summer truffle, often known as Saint John’s truffle or early summer truffle. It gets its nicknames from its peculiar harvest season, which runs from May to September, with other truffles harvested in the fall. It has a grey exterior and a beige interior. It smells like a lovely hazelnut.
Even though this truffle is not particularly hardy, it is reasonably priced. It has a significantly milder aroma than Bourgogne or Perigord truffles.
We recommend buying it fresh and eating it as soon as possible to get the most out of it. Grating it on fish, meat, or salads is ideal.
This smooth-surfaced truffle with a white inside is harvested between May 1 and September 30 and utilized in a variety of meals, including doughs, meat and fish, pasta dishes, and a variety of appetizers. They are also delicious in soups and salads of many kinds.
It is harvested between November 1 and March 15, and it appears so much like the Périgord truffle, both inside and out, that many people are duped into thinking they are purchasing the Périgord truffle.
The Brumale truffle, on the other hand, has a distinct aroma and flavor, so you’ll know which one you’re buying after just one bite. Of course, if you’re looking to save money, this is an excellent truffle to purchase. Tuber Uncinatum – Bourgogne Truffle
The Bourgogne truffle, also known as the Champagne truffle, the Lorraine truffle, or the Haut-Marne truffle, is high-quality.
It’s also known as the grey truffle because of its dark brown, almost black color. It has a more subtle perfume than the Perigord truffle, with a chocolate-colored body.
Unlike the black Perigord truffle, the Uncinatum prefers gloomy locations, which grow in open clearings because it enjoys the warmth.
Natural truffle habitats will typically be formed in previously cultivated areas that the forest has reclaimed.
The Tuber Uncinatum’s natural geographic zone stretches from the Mediterranean to Russia.
Its adaptability makes it the best candidate for truffle cultivation in orchards.
These truffles, picked in Dordogne between October 1 and December 31, have a chocolate aroma and flavor. It features a lot of sharp warts in a diamond form, and the flesh has a chocolate-brown tint. It thrives among broad-leaved trees in clay soil and is frequently used in appetizers, meat and fish dishes, and even eggs. This truffle is the most popular after the Périgord truffle.
Chinese Black Truffle
Chinese black truffles exist in various shapes and sizes, and they resemble Périgord truffles in appearance. However, the taste and texture of these truffles are frequently rubbery, which is why they sell for such a low price.
Many experts argue that the Chinese black truffle has no more value than other mushrooms, which is why you should always conduct your homework when looking for truffles.
Black Oregon Truffle
Chefs love the Oregon black truffle because of its robust odor and earthy, almost pineapple-like flavor. Their season is from November to March, and they can be utilized in a variety of meals, including meat-based dishes and a variety of desserts.
Because the aroma of Oregon truffles fades with heat, it’s best to shave them raw over meals rather than cooking them.
The season for the Tuscan truffle is January 10 through April 30. When eaten raw, the taste is fairly harsh, and if you combine it with butter or oil, it has a very distinct flavor. It is widely used to manufacture truffle oil and truffle paste, among other dishes.
Spoleto or Périgord Truffle
This is, without a doubt, the best French truffle you’ll ever buy.
It is a variety of winter black truffles harvested primarily in southern France between November 15 and March 31. The flesh is normally dark brown or black, with white veins running through it on occasion, and has a wonderful aroma.
The flavor is similar to roasted dried fruits, and it lingers long after the truffle has been swallowed. Because they can cost more than $2,000 per pound, they’re also known as black diamonds.
Spanish Black Truffle
Found in the hills of east-central Spain, these truffles are reputed to be some of the greatest truffles you can buy. Spain ships most of these truffles to foreign nations, and due to climate changes, the crops of the Spanish black truffles have gone down dramatically. Still, if you can get your hands on some of these truffles, it will be well worth what you have to pay for them.
Tuber Magnatum – White Piedmont Truffle
Tuber Magnatum, the white Alba truffle or Piedmont truffle, grows in northern Italy and the Rhône Valley’s lower valleys. In calcareous-clay soil, it prefers to grow near poplars and willows.
It looks like a potato, just like the other white Italian truffle, Tuber Borchii (but the Magnatum is twice the size of the Borchii and has a more delicate taste). Its exterior color varies from yellowish-grey to ochre with green flecks.
Its flavor is reminiscent of fresh garlic or onions. The white Magnatum truffle is grated on pasta or rice and eaten uncooked. It can be spotted in northern Italy from October 1 to December 31. Although it has a pleasant aroma and a smooth surface, it is not white.
The White Piedmont truffle, on the other hand, is a creamy, café au lait tint. It’s exclusively eaten fresh and smells like garlic, cheese, and shallots. It’s frequently shaved over spaghetti and rice.
Tuber Mesentericum, often known as the Mésentérique truffle, has a reputation for having an overpowering scent and a very powerful flavor. The scent of humus is slightly laced with licorice.
It’s mostly found in sloping calcareous soil in eastern France, Italy, and Switzerland. This kind is mostly collected wild in Lorraine, and there isn’t much farming. It has an uneven shape, with black skin and chestnut-chocolate flesh mottled with white.
We gathered data from the end of September through the end of December. The Mésentérique truffle may be cooked at low temperatures, which is a culinary advantage.
Tuber Borchii – Blanchette Truffle
Tuber Borchii, also known as the Blanchette truffle or Albidum Pico, is remarkably similar to the Magnatum truffle, another white Italian truffle.
It is smaller, but only an expert can discern the difference apart from its size. It has a similar scent to the Borchii truffle, but it is not as strong.
While the Magnatum truffle only grows in a small area, the Blanchette truffle may be found from Sicily to Finland. Even in Perigord, surprising black truffle hunters. When eaten fresh, it’s grated on potatoes or toast sprinkled with olive oil and cooking salt.
Fine Black Truffle
Fine black truffle, scientifically known as Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini, is also known by other names, such as the Spoleto, truffle of Norcia, or truffle de Perigord. The peridium is rather uniform, with a blackish-brown surface with rust-red hues and a transparent gleba with faint and thin veins. It has warts or lobes and is roundish in form.
The smell is powerful, aromatic, and fruity, which is a lovely combination. It prefers rocky terrain with little vegetation.
Oaks, linden, hazelnuts, black hornbeams, and rockrose plants thrive in symbiosis with it. This species is the most valuable after the white Alba truffle.
Harvesting usually takes place between December and mid-March. However, regional authorities set the exact date each year. It’s very common in Italy, Spain, and France.
Smooth Black Truffle
The smooth black truffle, Tuber Macrosporum Vittadini, is the least well-known and commercialized of the truffle species, yet it is nevertheless highly prized. It has a smooth, slightly gibbous surface. It has a distinct and pleasant odor.
Poplars, oaks, linden, hazelnuts, willows, and black hornbeams are all favorites of this species. Between the months of July and December end, the harvest season is in full swing.
Interesting Facts About Truffles
Majority Comes from France
The majority of truffles come from France, which produces about 30 tons each year. However, by the end of the nineteenth century, output had increased to almost 1,000 tons per year, resulting in a decrease in the amount exported abroad each year.
Grunts and Oinks
Animals such as pigs, goats, and even trained dogs are used to sniff out truffles. They hunt for truffles using their sense of smell, which is extremely similar to the sex pheromone found in male pig saliva and aids in truffle hunting.
How Do Truffles Grow
Truffles grow beside a host tree and work in a pretty straightforward manner. The tree provides the truffles with the sugar they require to flourish while also allowing the tree to absorb critical phosphorus.
On a lighter note, the Greeks once thought that truffles were created when lightning struck a patch of damp soil.
Truffles are fungi that are thought to grow underground to avoid cold weather, forest fires, and drought. Truffles also grow without roots and can be found as deep as eight inches into the earth in trees such as willow, oak, and hazel.
Some truffles are quite valuable, and in 2004, a rare Italian white truffle went for £28,000. Even today, truffles can cost upwards of $2,000 per pound, which is why they are referred to as “black diamonds.”