Truffles are underground mushrooms that grow in symbiosis with certain trees especially oaks, poplars, tiglio, and hazelnut. During a limited harvesting season, they are found in several regions of Europe: Italy, France and Spain. There are more than thirty different kinds of truffles, but only a few have a gastronomic interest. Some are not even edible. This aromatic delicacy is painstakingly harvested from its underground locations. Traditionally, pigs were used to unearth truffles, but they often ate the delicacies. Modern truffle hunters use specially trained dogs. They hunt mostly at night for two reasons. The odor of the truffle is more distinct, and the prized sites where the truffle can be found remain the secret of the intrepid hunter. Many chefs compare the truffle's character to that of garlic laid over a penetrating earthiness, giving off a whiff of strong wine. White truffles taste best when served uncooked. Shave them over fresh pasta or omelets. They taste earthy, garlicky, pungent and mushroomy. Black truffles can also be used to prepare outstanding sauces apart from being shaved over fresh pasta or carpaccio of any style.
Gathering of the truffles:
• white truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico)
– 1st oct. to 31st dec.; • perigord black truffle (Tuber Melanosporum Vitt.)
– 15th nov. to 15th march; • summer black truffle or "Scorzone" (Tuber Aestivum Vitt.)
– 1st may to 30th nov; • summer black truffle or "Scorzone" (varietà Uncinatum)
– 1st oct. to 31st dec.; • march truffle or "Marzuolo" (Tuber Borchii Vitt. o Tuber Albidum Pico)
– 15th jan. to 30th april; • winter black truffle (Tuber Brumale Vitt.)
– 1st jan. to 15th march; • musky truffle (Tuber Brumale Vitt, varietà Moschatum De Ferry)
– 15th nov. to 15th march; • smooth black truffle (Tuber Macrosporum Vitt.)
– 1st sept. to 31st dec.; • common black truffle (Tuber Masentericum Vitt.)
– 15th sept. to 31st dec.