Gourmets and chefs have regarded truffles, those delicate culinary gems, with awe for centuries. These elusive mushrooms, concealed beneath the forest floor, possess a mysterious allure that captivates the palate. However, did you know there are additional truffle types besides the well-known black-and-white varieties? In this article, we will delve into the enthralling world of truffles, examining the various varieties that grace both the gourmet kitchen and the wild and the distinctive flavors and characteristics they bring to the table.
Types Of Truffles
Here are some types of truffles:
1. Winter Black Truffle
- Périgord Truffle
- The Black Diamond of Provence
- Tuber Melanosporum
TTuber Melanosporum, Tuber Brumale Vitt, Extra Melanosporum, Tuber Aestium Vitt, and Asian Tuber Indicum are called “Périgord Truffle” and “The Black Diamond of Provence.” It is mostly picked in Italy, Spain, and France, where it grows in the shade of oak, hazelnut, chestnut elm, and poplar trees from November to March, with the peak in January and February. Many people think one country’s truffle is better than another’s, but this is untrue.
Due to climatic differences between regions, one country may have a larger harvest one year and a smaller harvest the following year. Despite their extraordinarily high prices, fresh black truffles are the most sought-after variety of this fungi. The outside of the winter black truffle is more grayish-brownish black, and white spidery veins on the inside show that it is ready to be eaten (the summer version will be darker brown but the same size). Typically, it weighs 2 to 3 ounces.
Winter Black Truffles are highly sought after due to their earthy, subtle aroma and flavor, described as a combination of “chocolate and earth.”
2. Winter White Truffle
- Piedmont Truffle
- White Truffle From Alba / “White Alba”
- Italian White Truffle
- Tuber Magatum Pico
Tuber Magnatum Pico: This truffle is often referred to as a “Piedmont Truffle,” “White Truffle from Alba,” or “Italian White Truffle,” which refers to the truffle’s provenance rather than its fungus species. The only distinction between summer and winter white truffles is that one is harvested during the summer and the other during the winter. It is a fairly simple process.
This truffle is renowned for its garlicky flavor, reminiscent of scallions, and its strong earthy and musky aroma. Fresh white truffles do not have a pure white hue but a yellowish hue and a silky exterior. Although many consider the white truffle “Italian” due to its prevalence in Northern and Central Italy, particularly Piedmont, Tuscany, and the Marches, white truffles can also be found in Croatia and other European countries.
The biggest problem with Winter White truffles (or any white truffle, for that matter) is that, even though they have a strong smell, it tends to go away quickly. This differs from black truffles, which have a milder smell but last longer. The confined gas inside them is released when truffles are sliced or shaved open. Since white truffles contain more of this gas, they emit more gas and are, therefore, more aromatic.
When the truffle is prepared, the gas escapes and dissipates despite its initial intensity. Yet this is precisely why white truffles make such an impressive first impression and are primarily used raw, shaved, or sliced over already-prepared dishes so that their fragrance will waft and envelop the dish.
3. Summer Black Truffle
- Truffe de la St. Jean
- Tuber Aestivum
The summer black truffle, harvested from May through August, is not as highly regarded as its winter counterpart. It still has a delectable flavor, but the aroma is more subtle, which diminishes its value in the experts’ eyes (or nostrils).
Aesthetically, summer and winter black truffles share a great deal of similarity. However, unlike white truffles, which are the same species regardless of when they are harvested, these fungi belong to a completely distinct species. With their dark brown hulls and rounded, knobby form, they could almost be mistaken for their more aromatic relatives. As soon as you cut them open, you will notice that the interior is grayish-yellow and has the same spidery fissures as winter black truffles.
These truffles have a chocolate-like flavor, but the flavor is more delicate than that of a white specimen. Consequently, they are frequently employed in cooking.
4. Summer White Truffle
- Marzuili Truffleq
- Tuber Magnatum Pico
- Tuber Borchii
The summer white truffle has the same garlicky connotations as the winter specimen, sweet undertones, and a musky fragrance. This is the truffle to seek out if you’re searching for a summer-harvested specimen.
These truffles are harvested primarily in Italy’s Tuscany, Piedmont, and the Marches regions. They are an excellent option for home cooks because they are typically much less expensive than their winter counterparts.
Summer-harvested white truffles have the same silky, yellowish-cream exterior as those harvested in the winter. The interior will be yellow or brown with white fissures, depending on the maturation stage. Shaving summer white truffles over prepared dishes like creamy risottos, roasted asparagus spears, and grilled sirloin can enhance their flavor and aroma.
5. Asian Truffles
The two most common varieties of Asian truffles are the Chinese Black Truffle and the Middle Eastern Terfez. The value of these truffles is hotly contested; some have compared them to black summer truffles, while others consider them entirely distinct from any European truffle.
On the outside, they resemble a typical truffle: knotty and knobby, filthy black-brown, and about the size of a walnut. However, they are smaller than European truffles. They are pitch-black with white spidery fissures and a more elastic consistency. From October to February, they are primarily harvested.
6. Chinese Black Truffle
- Himalayan Truffle
- Tuber indicum
- Tuber sensiese
The Chinese Black truffle is one of the two principal varieties of Asian truffle, and it grows beneath conifers (like pine) in Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. The appellation derives from the fact that it grows in a few provinces in China.
These may be labeled as winter black truffles, typically black on the inside and outside and knobby. Webbed veins may appear within the interior late in the season, which typically ranges from October to February. About the size of a walnut, these truffles are smaller than most European-harvested varieties.
7. Terfez Truffle
- Black Kame
- Brown Kame
- Desert Truffle
- Terfezia bouderi
Terfezia bouderi, terfezia spp., and Terfezia claveryi are also referred to as “black kame,” “brown kame,” and “desert truffle.” It comes from the semiarid regions of North Africa and the Middle East, from Morocco to Iraq. This subterranean mushroom thrives abundantly beneath the hot desert sand and has been harvested after heavy rains for thousands of years. Currently, it is the most commonly gathered truffle in the globe.
Aphrodisiac qualities are attributed to them and are frequently associated with the cult of Venus, the Greek deity of love. This truffle is traditionally prepared with couscous and is rich in protein. It has a strong aroma (some would say overpowering) and is traditionally cooked with couscous. The Terfez truffle has a paler hue, and the harvesting season runs from late December to early April.
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