Extended area of production
Typical production area:
From the plains to 600 - 800 m of altitude
Description Truffles are mushrooms which belong to the class of ascomycetes. The edible part of the truffle (the so-called tuber) is in practice represented by the flowering body, which contains the spores that are responsible for the propagation of the mushroom. Truffles are thus underground mushrooms which form mutualistic symbiosis, called microrizes, with the roots of a few arboreal plants such as Oaks, chestnuts, hornboeams, poplars, beechwoods, willows, lindens, ashes and not so often conifers. The flowering bodies of the truffles have varying sizes from diameters of a few mm to various cm (the size of an apple); they develop at different depths in the ground, depending on the type of truffle and the type of plant which they form the microrizes, in any case, they can be found at a few cm depth in the case of a few summer truffles such as the Scorzone, and up to 15 - 30 cm in the case of winter truffles such as the white truffle and the black truffle.
Only when the truffle has created a stable microrizitic symbiosis with the roots, does it develop its typical and flowering body. The flowering body of the truffle is made of an external coating part called peridium and by an inner part called glebe (often marbled and veined), more or less compact and pulpy, having different color, scent and flavor depending on the type of truffle and the type of vegetal species it has microrized with. Only when the reproductive spores of the truffle are formed and mature does the tuber emanate the typical and intense aroma which characterizes it.
Truffles are fruit of the earth which have been known since the most ancient times. There is evidence of their presence in the Sumerians diet and at the time of Jacob the patriarch around 1700 - 1600 B.C.
The Greeks called it Hydnon (from which the term "idnology", the science that deals with truffles) or Idra, the Latins called it Tuber, from which the verb tumere (to swell), the Arabs Ramech Alchamech Tufus or Tomer or Kemas, the Spaniards Turma de Tierra or Cadilla de Tierra, the french Truffle (from which comes the meaning fraud, connected to Molière's representation "Tartufe" of 1664, the English Truffle, the Germans, finally, Hirstbrunst, or Truffel. The ancient Sumerians used truffles mixing it with other vegetables such as malt, chickpeas, lentils and mustard. It is said that the ancient Athenians adored it so much as to give citizenship to Cherippo's children for having invented a new recipe.
Dishes and ingredients
Truffles are not a produce which can be preserved for long, but if a few appropriate measures are taken they can be kept for a little while, although it's better to eat them fresh. After being collected truffles are cleansed from dirt with brushes having not too ridged bristles and then stored in a fresh place (fridge), inside a glass jar, or immersed, in rice, (to protect them from humidity) or wrapped in porous paper, substituted every now and then, or also wrapped in a rag. Following these procedures truffles can be kept for 2 - 3 weeks (white truffles) up to 30 - 40 days (black truffles).
Truffles are quite suitable to simple yet substantial dishes, so as to stand out and enhance all the particular organoletic characteristics, in particular its intense aroma.
It can therefore be grated directly on simple uova al tegame (very simple yet sublime dish), or used as a rich dressing for rich or buttered tagliatelle. Truffles, finally, go well with meat, raw or ground meat as well as slightly salted filets in a pan and sprinkled with scales of truffles.
Last update: March 8, 2021