The truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean Ascomycete fungus, linked to certain kinds of plants, from which it absorbs nutrition by means of an extensive and ramified root system.
The fruit is a tuber and consists of a fleshy mass, whose color varies from white to grey tending towards brown, depending on the plant on which it lives and grows. Indeed, the truffle consists of a percentage of water and mineral salts, which it absorbs from the surrounding soil.
The form depends on the nature of the soil: if the soil is soft it will be smoother; if the soil is compact it will have more difficulty growing and will therefore tend to be more protuberant and lumpy.
There are many kinds of truffle, the most precious ones used in the Italian cuisine are:
- White truffle, known as the “White Alba truffle -Tartufo bianco d’Alba”
- Black winter truffle also known as “Rare black truffle”
- Italian black Summer truffle known as “Scorzone truffle”
- Bianchetto truffle, one of the most famous wild truffles which grows in Tuscany and Piedmon
How to preserve and eat truffles
To best appreciate the taste of the Italian truffle, it should be consumed as soon as possible, but there are also some ways to preserve the taste and aroma of truffle to be enjoyed a few days after picking.
Here, the steps to preserve the truffle:
- Wrap each truffle in paper or fabric without removing the soil.
- Change the wrapping every day.
- Store it in the fridge in a container that must be kept open to allow the truffle to “breathe”. But attentions: milk, butter, cheese and eggs stored near the truffle tend to absorb its aroma.
- When the truffle appears to go soft it must be consumed immediately
The truffle should be cleaned only a few minutes before use, under cold water and using a small brush.
The truffle is served raw, cut into thin strips, on cold and hot dishes and with light sauces. It is ideal with cheese and egg recipes like egg pasta, or to cook the classic Piemontese-style risotto (a typical Italian risotto cooked with onions, butter and white wine).
Italy is the world’s leading truffle producer thanks to the favorable climate and the richness of the soil. Truffle has been used in Italian gastronomic tradition for ages and today it is considered one of the best products produced from our soil and an Italian excellence.