White truffle Magnatum
Black winter truffle Tuber melanosporum
Black Summer truffle Tuber Aestivum
Black Autumn truffle Tuber Brumale
white spring truffle Borchii
Description: The scientific name is Tuber Magnatum, namely “tycoons”.
- It has an un-confoundable and unique strong scent. You can find it from late summer until early winter. The white truffle has an irregular shape, its size is generally large, at around 50-400 grams. Exceptionally even higher than 1 kg. One of the largest fresh truffles.
- Peridium: smooth, pale yellow, sometimes with a greenish or yellow-ocher hue.
- Glebe: yellowish, with a hazel or brown hue, sometimes with red specks, crossed by a dense network of very thin white veins.
- Shape: can be roundish or even very lobed, or definitely mashed, depending on the type of soil in which the truffle has raised.
- Dimensions: this specie is very variable in size, with specimens that can reach several hectograms, and even exceed 1kg.
- Maturation period: from September to December.v
The white spring truffle truffle, scientific name Tuber Borchii. By the outside can be confused with Tuber Magnatum, because it originally presents the same features, irregular, smooth and of white color, but when it arrives to maturation, it becomes darker. Even the glebe, from initially being clear, becomes dark. The smell is the feature that distinguishes it from the white truffle, because, if in the beginning it is soft and pleasant, in a later time becomes garlicky and nauseous. It grows in calcareous soils, often in deciduous and coniferous woods.
- Peridium: smooth, light colored, varying from white-ocher to reddish.
- Glebe: clear tending to tawny to brown, with white large veins and few in number.
- Shape: variable, tending to round if the truffle has grown in sandy soils, sometimes irregular, with gibbous surface.
- Size: The average size of this truffle is rather small, such as a nut or a little bigger, but it can reach up to the size of a hen’s egg.
- Maturation period: from January to April.
- The spring white truffle in the kitchen: the firm scent, with garlic tones, and the strong and durable flavor, are rendering it a suitable condiment for various dishes, provided that, just like the white fine truffle, it is not left for prolonged cooking.
- How to recognize it: by the smooth peridium, by the light colors or reddish, by the small size, by the smell of garlic, by the late time of maturation which is winter-spring.
Black winter truffles, also known as Périgord truffles. Périgord truffle is normally round, and slightly bumpy. The flesh is noir/violet at maturity, with fine veins that are well marked and divided. White when cut open, the flesh turns red on contact with air. It grows in hilly areas in symbiosis with hazelnut and oak trees. To the nose the perfume is of a dry mushroom, humus, and wet forests. In the mouth the truffle is crunchy and soft simultaneously; at first spicy with a slight taste of black radish, then a hint of hazelnut, with a finish of wooded forest floor, sometimes earth when tasting the skin.
- Peridium: warty, formed by small and not very prominent warts, of black color.
- Glebe: black-purplish in mature specimens, with white and smooth veins, which tend to become reddish in the air and disappear while cooking.
- Shape: usually round, but even irregular or lobed.
- Dimensions: variable, from the size of a hazelnut to that of an orange, rarely bigger.
- Maturation period: from November to March.
- The black truffle in the kitchen: has a sweet scent and a tasty flavor, which are a good fit for cooking and garnish for meat as second plate.
- How to recognize it: by the small and not very prominent warts of the peridium, by the dark color with purple hues of the glebe and the sweet scent.
It resembles Tuber Aestivum, having an irregular round form, a more poignant smell and taste than Aestivum. Its exteriour is dark brown,while the interiour is brown-red with white-grey ribbed, having a marble like aspect. It is usualy found in the same places like summer truffle, in the chalky soil of oak and hornbeam forests. Culinary wise among the most versatile fresh truffles.
- Peridium: warty, consisting of black warts
- Glebe: hazelnut, crossed by white veins highly branched, more or less fine.
- Shape: variable, but also smashed.
- Dimensions: tend to be smaller than the summer black truffle.
- Maturation period: from October to December.
- The uncinatum truffle in the kitchen: the tasty flavor makes of it a specie that lends itself to the widest variety of uses, from raw to cooked.
- How to recognize it: it is very similar to the black summer truffle (Tuber Aestivum), so that, according to some scholars, it would be an autumn variety of that one. The differences, that are not always perceptible, are related to the appearance of the truffle (peridium, glebe, size and shape), to the scent and, especially to the period of late maturation.
Tuber Brumale is rather similar with Tuber Aestivum and Uncinatum in terms of shape and colour, but its surface is smoother and the so callerd warts are smaller. The winter truffles do not grow as much in diameter as the other truffles,usually they reach the size of nutts and their smell is a strong, musk-like. Their external colour is dark brown or black with blue shades, while the interiour is white or dark grey marbled, and the ribbes are widder than at the Aestivum and Uncinatum.
- Peridium: warty, consisting of small black warts and little pointed out.
- Glebe: brownish gray, crossed by white veins, large and sparse.
- Shape: generally globular.
- Dimensions: they tend to be small, on an average as those of a walnut.
- Maturation period: from January to March.
- The black winter truffle Tuber Brumale in the kitchen: for the flavor is especially appreciated by those who love strong flavors of fresh truffles.
- How to recognize it: it is similar to the black fine truffle, from which it differs mainly because of the grayish tones of the glebe, because of the more obvious veins and the strong scent, similar to the turnip. There are a variety of Tuber Brumale truffle with a strong musky scent, the so-called muscatel truffle.
The most common and widely consumed truffle, the summer black truffle scientific named Tuber Aestivum. This truffle can reach notable dimensions and is very similar to the black truffle. The outer surface shows pyramidal warts of brown color. It has a strong aromatic scent, but at the cut it differs from the black fine one, because the glebe does not become dark, but tends to a dark yellow. It grows in both sandy and clayey soils, in deciduous forests, pine forests and even in the old olive groves.It is very appreciated in the kitchen and it is used for the production of sausages and sauces, creams and oils. There is also a winter variant of this kind of truffle, known as uncinated truffle (Tuber Uncinatum).
- Peridium: warty, formed by protruding warts, coarse and pointed at the end, black colored.
- Glebe: hazel with yellowish hues, crossed by white veins, highly branched, more or less fine.
- Shape: generally rounded.
- Dimensions: The black summer truffle has a rather high average size, sometimes some specimens may reach half a kg of weight.
- Maturation period: from June to November.
Terfezia (Berber: Tirfas) is a genus of truffle-like fungi within the Pezizaceae family. Terfezia species are commonly known as desert truffles. Some authorities consider this the type genus of the family Terfeziaceae, although phylogenetic analysis suggests that it nests within the Pezizaceae. The Dictionary of the Fungi (10th edition, 2008) suggests that the genus contains 12 species. A recent (2011) publication used molecular analysis to show that the American Terfezia species had been incorrectly classified, and moved Terfezia spinosa and Terfezia longii to Mattirolomyces and Stouffera, respectively; as a result, no Terfezia species are known to exist in North America.