The various species of truffles and harvest periods in Acqualagna

There are about a hundred types of truffles, but only 9 species are considered edible and, therefore, can be marketed. In fact, most are toxic or characterized by non-appreciable organoleptic properties. A series of characteristics distinguish the different types of truffles: the scent, flavor, appearance of the peridium (the outer rind), appearance of the gleba (the fleshy inner part), and ripening period. Here are the 9 edible and marketed types; the first 6 are the most important and compete in the market.

Superior Black Truffle or Black Truffle of Norcia (Tuber melanosporum Vittadini)1 December- 15 March
Black Winter Truffle or Black Trifola (Tuber brumale Vittadini)January 1 – March 15
Summer Truffle or Scorzone (Tuber aestivum Vittadini)June 1- August 31
Uncinatum Truffle or Winter Scorzone (Tuber uncinatum Chatin)October 1 – December 31
White Truffle or White Trifola (Tuber magnatum Pico)The last Sunday in September- December 31
Bianchetto truffle or Marzuolo (Tuber albidum Pico or Tuber borchii Vittadini)January 15 – April 15
Moscatum truffle (Tuber brumale moschatum De Ferry)January 1 – March 15
Ordinary Black Truffle or Bagnoli Truffle (Tuber mesentericum Vittad.)The last Sunday in September – January 31
Smooth Black Truffle (Tuber macroscopum Vittad.)The last Sunday in September – December 31

1. Superior Black Truffle or Black Truffle of Norcia (Tuber melanosporum Vittadini)

The peridium, the blackish-brown surface with rusty red hues, is quite homogeneous, and the gleba is black-brown tending to purple or reddish, with dense and thin whitish veins and with well-defined contours. The shape is round with bumps or protrusions. The scent is pleasantly intense, aromatic, and fruity. It prefers hills and mountains with little vegetation. It lives in symbiosis with downy oaks, holm oaks, Turkey oaks, limes, hazelnuts, black hornbeams, and rockrose plants. After the white truffle, this species is the most exquisite. It is widespread in Italy, Spain, and France. It expresses all its elegance once cooked. Storage time: 5/10 days from collection. Store in the refrigerator wrapped in kitchen paper (to be replaced daily) and an airtight container. Do not wash before use.

2. Black Winter Truffle o Black Trifola (Tuber brumale Vittadini)

The surface is black and brown with small lumps, while the gleba is dark and has marble veins. The scent is intense and persistent with musky tones, and in the muscat variant, it recalls nutmeg. It can be found in plants such as English oak, oak, downy oak, beech, holm oak, black pine, larch, black and white hornbeam or hazelnut. It is easily confused with the superior black truffle, but it costs half the price. Aroma and flavor: strong and aromatic and easily digestible. We recommend consuming it raw in very thin slices. Storage time: 5/10 days from collection. Store in the refrigerator wrapped in kitchen paper (to be replaced daily) and an airtight container. Do not wash before use.

3. Summer Truffle or Scorzone (Tuber aestivum Vittadini)

It resembles the superior black truffle since it is also black and has numerous lumps, but it stands out because, the gleba has a hazelnut color with light veins. Its aroma and flavor give us a delicate taste of mushroom, but it is less elegant than the superior black truffle. It expresses its maximum potential after cooking. This variety can grow to a considerable size. It grows in clayey and sandy soil, from the plain up to 1000 meters. Depending on the altitude, it can be found in symbiosis with downy oak, oak, hornbeam, beech, hazelnut, or holm oak, English oak, pine, or hazelnut. Storage time: 5/15 days from collection. Store in the refrigerator wrapped in kitchen paper (to be replaced daily) and an airtight container. Do not wash before use.

4. Uncinatum Truffle or Winter Scorzone (Tuber uncinatum Chatin)

The Uncinatum truffle is the typical autumn truffle. It is a very popular variety of truffle because it is has a very attractive price and an aroma and scent that can bring life to individual dishes. Some compare it to the Black Summer Truffle (called Scorzone), but the Uncinatum Truffle has a decidedly more intense aroma. The size of the Uncinatum Truffle can range from a hazelnut to an orange and beyond and can even reach 700 grams in weight. Like its summer namesake, the Fresh Uncinatum Truffle has a lumpy outer skin (hence the name Scorzone) but is very dark, gray, or black. The color of the gleba (truffle pulp) ranges from shades of hazelnut to brown, with light and very branched veins. There aren’t many differences between Aestivum Scorzone and Uncinatum Scorzone, but the latter has a more pronounced odor due to the particularly humid soil in which it is located, which retains the well-defined smell of the woods and vegetation that welcome it. The environment in which the Unicinatum truffle grows is in the turkey oak, downy oak, and black hornbeam trees, which can be considered the symbiotic plant of choice. Since the Unicinatum Truffle cannot stand drought and needs very humid soil, it is found in shady, cool areas, where the sun’s rays do not reach it.

5. White Truffle o White Trifola (Tuber magnatum Pico)

It is born and grows only in Piedmont or the Marche region, where it takes the name of Alba and Acqualagna truffles. It lives in symbiosis with oaks, willows, limes, and poplars but can also be found in hornbeam and hazelnut trees. It is globular and more or less round but has irregularities on the peridium (cavities and protrusions); the surface is slightly soft. The color varies from cream to ocher and remains constant even when fully ripe. The gleba is white and grayish-yellow and marbled with white veins. The aroma and flavor are extremely strong and aromatic, like that of parmesan cheese. We recommend eating it raw and sliced very thin. It requires soft, moist soil with good ventilation. Storage time: 5/10 days from collection. Store in the refrigerator, in the vegetable compartment, wrapped in kitchen paper (to be replaced daily) and an airtight container. Do not wash before use.

6. Bianchetto Truffle or Marzuolo (Tuber albidum Pico o Tuber borchii Vittadini)

It is widespread throughout the Italian peninsula. It has similar characteristics to the white truffle because it has a round and regular shape with cavities and protrusions and is smooth and off-white. When it reaches maturity, it becomes dark both inside and out. It seldom reaches large dimensions. It is distinguished from the superior white truffle for its aroma—light in the beginning and tending towards strong garlic tones later. Its commercial value is significantly lower than the white truffle. It prefers calcareous soil and broad-leaved woods such as Turkey oaks, holm oaks, and downy oaks, or conifers such as larches, cedars, firs, and some species of pine. Aroma and flavor: less intense and more pungent than the white truffle. It is best cooked, as it is not particularly digestible due to its high acidity. Storage time: 5/7 days from collection. Store in the refrigerator wrapped in kitchen paper (to be replaced daily) and an airtight container. Do not wash before use.

7. Moscatum Truffle (Tuber brumale moschatum De Ferry)

Like the Winter Truffle variety, it is generally small in size; it has a strong smell reminiscent of musk (moscatum means “tastes of musk”) and a spicy flavor, stronger than that of the Winter Truffle. It prefers calcareous, permeable soil with high porosity also rich in humus and is created at a depth varying from about 5 to 30 cm in symbiosis with plants such as Aleppo Pine, Italian Pine, Downy Oak, Holm Oak, Black Hornbeam, Hazelnut, and the Turkey Oak.

8. Ordinary Black Truffle or truffle of Bagnoli (Tuber mesentericum Vittaddini)

This truffle is characterized by a dense network of veins in the gleba (internal part of the truffle), arranged in a labyrinth, reminiscent of the intestine; for this reason, it was called mesentericum, which means “similar to the intestine”. The peridium (rind) is black and lumpy; the dimensions of these specimens on average are small, rarely greater than that of an egg. It has a phenic smell, like bitumen, and a slightly bitter taste, which is why it has little commercial value. It prefers well ventilated loose soil even if rich in humus in symbiosis with Downy Oak, Turkey Oak, Black Pine, Black Hornbeam, Hazel, and Beech.

9. Smooth Black Truffle (Tuber macroscopum Vittadini)

It is the least known and least commercialized variety, but it is still one of the most popular. The surface is smooth, and the gibbous lines are minimal. The smell is strong and pleasant. The smooth black truffle or Tuber Macrosporum Vittadini is still a truffle species that is quite unknown, considered lesser but actually endowed with unique and highly appreciable organoleptic and aromatic characteristics. The smooth truffle has climatic needs very similar to those of the superior white truffle, with which it often shares the maturation grounds, despite having a greater resistance to drought. It is precisely for this reason that its notoriety is still limited; in the growing areas, attention is always focused on the white truffle, and the smooth black truffle is often left behind. It has a peridium characterized by sparse and not very prominent spores, which give it a smooth and uniform rind. The body is globular and irregular and brown or blackish. The gleba is whitish brown, tending to rusty tones over time; the white veins are numerous and rather large. The dimensions are small, often comparable to those of a hazelnut, between 1 and 6 centimeters. The smooth black truffle gives off a scent reminiscent of the white truffle, but more intense and persistent. The pleasant and aromatic smell is undoubtedly the most appreciable characteristic of this type of truffle, which, due to its fragrance, can be combined with the most valuable types. Even in flavor, the smooth truffle is characterized by intense and persistent tones that make it ideal for multiple culinary uses. This species loves oaks, poplars, limes, willows, hazelnut trees, and black hornbeams.