The truffle world is quite diverse and exciting and there is no doubt about that.
Hundreds of species of truffles are available, you can find them in almost every corner of the world, but relatively few of them have a real market value.
Truffles can be found in temperate climates, including regions of France, Italy, Australia and the US.
Despite decades of research, it remains a mystery of what exactly causes the precious morsel to form, there is no consensus. Said to possess a unique flavour, a truffle is the apogee of gourmet eating. A culinary delicacy sought after by chefs and “foodies” alike.
For those new to the truffle world, these fungi have a long history as a delicacy. As it was revealed during Roman times. they believed truffles possess mythical healing properties and were highly sought after and associated with the upper class.
The region where the truffles are harvested plays a major role in the taste. But one thing is clear: truffles are rich in umami, and they taste as they smell. Truffles can be described as earthy, musky, oaky, and nutty.
The more you learn about truffles, the easier it is to appreciate them.
At Great Southern Truffles, we use Australian Black Winter Truffles (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.).
Australian Black Winter Truffles (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.)
Australian Black Winter Truffles have a strong aroma and is deep black in colour on the gleba. It widely varies in size and shape and has a grainy texture, covered in many small peridium.
The aroma of a Black Winter Truffle consists of an array of simple sensations, varying from intensity to amplitude and can be described as musky and woody. Yet, it is precisely this unique, alluring scent that has made Australian Black Winter Truffle such a culinary success.
They are very similar in flavour and intensity compared to truffles found in certain parts of France. They are available in the truffle season in Australia, June, July and August.
Below are some other cultivated varieties of truffle that deserves attention due to their gastronomic qualities:
Winter White Truffles (Tuber magnatum Vitt.)
The Winter White Truffle is also called Alba Truffle or Piedmont (Italy) due to the region has been blessed with an abundance of white truffles.
White truffles are found from October to December, in some countries in Europe, mainly. The short season adds to this magical fungus, especially attention, reflecting its price value.
It has an irregular shape, tiny knobby spheres. White truffles are known for their heady aroma and pale creamy to light brown.
Winter White Truffles are often described as garlicky or reminiscent of shallots in flavour. However, it is also crucial to point out that those unique morsels are rarely cooked. Instead, slice over risotto or over a finished dish of pasta will allow the food's heat to release the intense aroma.
Black Summer Truffles (Tuber aestivum Vitt.)
Black Summer Truffle resembles in appearance Black Winter Truffle, with a knobby, roundish shape and dark brown skin. However, its gleba consists of spidery white veins webbing around.
Black Summer Truffles are typically harvested primarily in France, Spain, and Italy between May through August. Black Summer Truffle has a subtle fragrance, but it is not as spectacularly aromatic as the white truffle. They are better utilized by being cooked to bring out the most of that subtly earthy chocolaty flavour as possible.
Bianchetto Truffle (Tuber borchii Vitt.)
Tuber borchii Vitt. is well-known for its excellent culinary qualities and it is commonly called White Spring Truffle. However, it is less known that the Black Winter Truffe (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.) and the White Truffle (Tuber magnatum).
Bianchetto Truffle has a rounded shape, often irregular with a bumpy surface. Its interior is light to buff-colored up to tons of brown with a few large white veins when it is young and more beige to reddish-brown at maturity. Bianchetto is rather small and varies from the size of a pea to an egg. Their aroma is described as strong garlicky.
These truffle species grow from January to April 30 in Italy (winter to spring). The “bianchetto” truffles can be found in other locations throughout Europe, such as Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Poland and Portugal.
Like other truffle species, Bianchetto is excellent to be served in pasta dishes, meat, fish and salads.
Chinese Black Truffles (Cooke & Massee)
Some varieties of Chinese Black Truffles visually resemble Black Winter Truffles, specifically Tuber indicum Cooke & Massee. They dark textured and dark brown flesh with light veins. These truffles are described as rubbery in taste and texture.
Its flavour is very subtle, and it is often said that it is inferior to the taste of Tuber melanosporum.