Italian Truffles. Fascinating Facts or Rumour ? The Truth about Italian truffles
True or False
Italian Truffles. Fascinating Facts. True or False
The Truth about Italian truffles
1; Truffles are a type of mushroom or fungi that grow under the surface of the soil, usually close to tree roots.
2; There are around 30 different types of truffles in Italy but only a handful are edible.
3; Truffles will only grow in woods where there are certain specific species of trees including oak and poplars. The truffles form a symbiotic relationship with the trees and would not grow without them.
4; The white truffle season runs from September to December but other types of truffle can be hunted at different times of the year.
5; Truffle prices can vary greatly from year depending on weather conditions, rainfall, summer temperatures and hunt success. Prices have been recorded at $14000 per Kilo.
6; A truffle’s flavour depends on its moistness and freshness. Truffles lose their flavour after just a few days as they dry out so always buy fresh to get the best quality and flavour.
7; The ancient Greeks thought truffles were made when lightning hit damp soil
8; Italians consider the white truffle (tuber magnatum) to be superior in taste to the black truffle (tuber melonosporum)
9; Pigs, & trained dogs are used to sniff out truffles which produce a chemical almost identical to a sex pheromone found in male pig's saliva. Men secrete the same chemical in their underarm sweat
10; The truffle has been described variously as a diamond of cookery, fairy apple, black queen, gem of poor lands, fragrant nugget and the black pearl.
11; The truffle farmers of Italy guard their properties during the height of the season with armed security, so precious is the truffle
12; A fabled aphrodisiac, the black truffle's penetrating aroma led the Epicureans to liken the scent to that of the tousled sheets of a brothel bed. In the Middle Ages, monks were prohibited from eating truffles for fear they would forget their calling.
The "white truffle" or "trifola d'Alba Madonna" (Tuber magnatum) is found mainly in the Langhe and Montferrat areas of the Piedmont region in northern Italy and, most famously, in the countryside around the cities of Alba and Asti; in Italy it can also be found in Molise, Abruzzo, and in the hills around San Miniato, in Tuscany. It is also found on the Istria peninsula. Italian white truffles are highly esteemed and are the most valuable on the market:
Biology of Truffles
The truffle is an underground mushroom made up of two parts. The first is the fruiting, the part that you eat. The second part is invisible and is made up of the truffle’s “roots.”
The fruiting body appears during different seasons depending on the type of truffle. The truffle can be large or small, evenly or irregularly shaped, and be present at a depth of between 4 to 16 inches. Underneath its skin, which can be smooth or rough, is a soft flesh.
The truffle’s environment is of the utmost importance for the development of the truffles. It is a very demanding mushroom that needs particular environmental conditions, another reason they are so precious.
Truffles grow in woods that have a mix of trees with a little undergrowth to maintain humidity often found along the banks of streams, but also by footpaths, pine trees, and poplars. Each species of truffle needs different soil and climate conditions.
To find out how to share a day with truffle farmers go to http://www.wineandfoodtraveller.com/