Species of Truffles
The renowned Tuber melanosporum, also known as the 'black diamond' of gastronomy, is the fresh black truffle, or Périgord truffle. This exquisite delicacy is harvested in France, Spain, Italy and Australia, and is highly regarded by fine-dining aficionados worldwide. Unrivalled in its unique flavour and texture, the black truffle is an incomparable ingredient.
The historic roots of the black truffle stretch back many centuries, but prior to the early 19th century it was only possible to find fresh black truffles in the wild. As such, only privileged individuals and true gourmets were able to savour this "black diamond".
In 1815, Joseph Talon from the village of Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt in the Vaucluse department of south-eastern France pioneered a new approach by planting acorns from oaks known to produce black truffles on a rocky parcel of land. Astonishingly, this experiment reaped great success, leading to the development of the “domesticated” truffles that are available worldwide today.
For gourmets and connoisseurs, the Périgord Truffle - or Tuber Melanosporum - is a culinary treasure to behold. Harvested from November to March in holm oak forests between 500 and 1,000 metres high, it makes a unique addition to any meal. Featuring a powerful aroma, with subtle spicy notes, and a delicately bitter flavour, this truffle has been a favourite of kings, philosophers, cooks and chefs alike for centuries. Perfect for adding an unmistakable exquisite touch to pasta dishes, rice, meats, and even scrambled eggs, the Périgord Truffle is the perfect way to elevate any dining experience.
The White Truffle, also known as "Truffles from Alba or Piedmont", is a very rare and expensive variety of truffle. Depending on the harvest, its price can reach up to $10,000 per kilo. This variety is found mainly in Central Italy, Southern France, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. In particular, the Danube River is known to have some wonderful specimens. Piedmont and the hills of Langhe and Montferrato are considered the "homeland" of this truffle. It typically grows from September to December, although in some regions the ripening period may be extended by a few weeks. The White Truffle can range from walnut-sized to fist-sized (3 to 15 cm) and is characterized by its smooth velvety surface and a soft finish, with its color ranging from pale ocher to dark cream and in some cases, even greenish. The core or "gleba" is dark, grayish-yellow or reddish-brown, with white veins. The delicate truffle grows to a depth of around 30 cm, depending on the amount of rainfall during that year. Its aroma is reminiscent of a combination of methane gas and garlic. It is usually shredded and served as a topping on various dishes. Unfortunately, this truffle's shelf-life is rather short, only lasting a few days. Every year, an auction is held in Alba, at Grinzane Cavour Castle, showcasing the best specimens from that given season. Prices for each truffle are determined individually. This delicacy is found in limited quantities in Bulgaria, where it inhabits specific areas.
Tuber Aestivum or Black Summer Truffle, also called "Truffe de la Saint-Jean". Outwardly it looks like a black winter truffle covered with warts, a beige core with white marble veins. Its flavor is very different and delicate, slightly walnut, very good choice for testing new recipes. This truffle variety grows throughout Europe during the months from May to September. They are most fond of squirrels and other small mammals, and they are involved in the process of developing the truffle by spreading its spores. The behavior of these animals can also be a reference point where exactly these truffles should be sought. Mammals living in holes, such as squirrels and some insects, are involved in the process of developing the truffle by spreading its spores. Its price varies according to the season from 30 to 70euros per kilogram. It occurs in Bulgaria in large quantities, in the months: May, June, July and August.
Tuber Uncinatum, commonly known as Burgundy, is a variety of Tuber Aestivum and matures from October to January. It has a pungent flavor and aroma that is more intense than the black summer truffle. Its center is darker brown in comparison. It is prolific in Bulgaria during September, October, November, and December and its price at that time is approximately 900 euro per kilogram.
Bagnoli truffle is a type of small, black truffle which grows and matures alongside Tuber uncinatum. Reaching up to 5 cm in size, this truffle has a black bark with large warts, an irregular circular shape, and an inside that is grey-brown, lined with wavy veins. The most distinguishing feature of Bagnoli truffle is its strong smell of phenol and tar, similar to that of immature bitter almonds - a taste that remains even after cooking. This pungent flavour and aroma make Bagnoli truffle a rare find and not a common species. It can be found in Europe, mainly in Bulgaria, growing under oak, birch, hazel and beech trees. Due to its challenging discovery and preparation, Bagnoli truffle is not widely available in the market.
The winter truffle, which is similar in appearance to Tuber melanosporum, ripens during the same period and is found in the same areas, but prefers wetter environments. It tends to be rounded or with slight protrusions, and has a black or dark brown rind with very close together, clear warts and indentations at the apex points.