What is the Truffle?
The truffle is a hypogeous fungus as it lives under the ground. It is a symbiote because it is closely related to a tree or a bush with whom it exchanges nutritional substances, and mycorrhizal because it produces the mycorrhizae. It belongs to the category of Ascomycetes as its spores are enclosed within an ascus and also to the order of tuberales, tuberacee family of tuber kind. It is characterized from its unique aroma and identifies itself in the various species.
Its chemical composition is:
- Approximately 80% water.
- Approximately 15% cellulose and fibers.
- Approximately 3% protein and fat.
- Approximately 2% salt and phosphates.
- Approximately 0,01% essential oils that give the truffle its various aroma.
The species of Truffle
Villa Magna farm picks and trades in accordance with law (The regional Law of 11 Aprile 1995 n. 50) these species of truffle principally:
- The precious white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico) in autumn.
- The precious black truffle (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.) in autumn/winter.
- The winter black truffle (Tuber uncinatum Chatin) in autumn/winter.
- The whitish or bianchetto truffle (Tuber borchii Vitt. or T.albidum Pico) in winter/spring.
- The summer black truffle (Tuber aestivum Vitt.) in summer.
The Precious White Truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico)
The rind or peridium is light yellow in colour, occasionally with light green or yellow-ochre tones. The gleba or pulp is pale yellow with hazel or brown tones, occasionally with red freckles and very thin white veins. The shape may be rounded (the most appreciated) or even very lobed, sometimes squashed. This species is extremely varied in volume, it can reach larger sizes and even exceed 1,5 kg in weight. It usually ripens from September to December, some years it may hasten or delay its ripening. It is the truffle with a capital T as it is the most coveted and sought after. Especially in recent picking seasons, due to the persistent drought, it was found in very small quantities; as a consequence the price has been raised. It is considered “the king of the kitchen” especially for its intense and inebriating aroma. It has to be cooked raw on hot dishes to enhance its aroma.
The Precious Black Truffle (T. melanosporum Vitt.)
The rind or peridium is warty with small and not prominent black opaque warts. The gleba or pulp is black/purplish at full ripening, with thin white veins. The shape is usually rounded in specimens found in cultivated truffle beds while more irregular or lobed in specimens found in natural truffle beds. In truffle cultivations, thanks to the irrigation and soft soil, one can reach a larger sizes (about 700/800 gr). It usually ripens from December to March. Moreover this species, known as Perigord Truffle or Norcia Truffle as well, has been the first one used in world haute cuisine, mainly for two reasons: it lends itself to be used for cooking both in first and second courses and being the French main truffle, it has been enhanced by French cuisine and made itself worldwide known before others.
The Winter or Uncinatum Black Truffle (T. uncinatum Chatin)
The rind or peridium is black in colour with less noticeable warts than black summer truffle. The gleba or pulp is nut or brown in colour with white veins branches.
The shape is generally rounded, sometimes lightly irregular.
The size tends to be smaller than black summer truffle.
It ripens from October to January.
Thanks to its delicate aroma and full flavor, this species lends itself well to be used for cooking, both raw and cooked.
Over the last few years, it is accomplishing a great success in foreign markets too.
The Whitish or Bianchetto Truffle (Tuber borchii Vitt. or T.albidum Pico)
The rind or peridium is smooth and light in colour, variable from white-ochre to reddish. The gleba is light or reddish, with a few large white veins. The shape is variable and tends to be rounded. This species is rather small, from hazelnut to cherry, exceptionally it can be as large as a hen’s egg. It ripens from January to April. Its distinctive aroma, sometimes with alliaceous plant in species picked in pine forests while more delicate for those picked under the oaks. So far, it has not been promoted due to its small size and fast perishability, even though it has a good yield on dish.
The Summer Black Truffle (T. aestivum Vitt.)
The rind or peridium is sometimes with large, protruding, glossy black pointed warts. The gleba or pulp, is hazel or light brown in colour with thin white veins. The shape is variable, rarely rounded. Medium in size, one may pick specimens that can exceed 500 g. It ripens from May to November.
It has a delicate aroma which increases at full ripening.
It is an easy to find truffle and at lower prices, which is why it is the most frequently used in preserved products.
The Organic Truffle
It is several years since Villa Magna farm obtained the organic certification for its production according to the Community and National regulations. Moreover our farm is submitted to the “Suolo and Salute” monitoring organization.
In the truffle world the organic certification is highly regarded as fresh truffle is “organic” in itself and also the truffle bed zone has to be taken into account. Moreover, being a hypogeous (underground) fungus, it manages to absorb several kinds of substances from the soil (like a sponge), therefore some producers have experienced problems relating to the origin of the truffles and the possible risk of contamination.
Over the last few years there have been cases of truffle found in contaminated areas, both in Italy and abroad.
Due to the fact that, even nowadays, there could be a potential contamination risk, in order to guarantee the quality of our truffles, Villa Magna farm has adopted the method of organic production for its own farm. We sell products of which it is possible to track the production chain.