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EVERYTHING ABOUT TRUFFLES

Tuber magnatum Picco (WHITE TRUFFLE)

Generally known as White truffle, in Italian Tartufo Bianco d’Alba or Piedmont Truffle.
 
This truffle specie grows mainly in the Italian regions of Langhe and Montferrat or the Piedmont, near the cites of Alba (Piedmont) and Asti. It also grows in Croatia, Istria and Drome in France.
This truffle is born buried in the hypogeum. Its shape is very variable, irregular, lobed and rounded. The average size varies from 2 to 6 cm, but sometimes there can be up to 15 cm. The peridium has a pale beige colour, being sometimes olive green. Its aspect is smooth, and granular under a magnifying glass.
The gleba has a very variable colour. Initially is whitish, then yellowish pink, ochre brown, reddish brown, and sometimes with flesh-red spots.
 
White, thin, numerous, sinuous and braided veins.
 
It has a firm and friable consistency, with a soft and soapy touch, and an intense and complex scent, mixture of methane, fermented cheese and garlic, with an alliaceous, pleasant and intense flavour.  
 
It is at its best raw. If it is cooked, it loses all its flavour.
 
The floor where it grows is loamy-chalky, with a great macro porosity, generally in well drained flood plains. They are mainly grey soils with small quantity of stones, always in shade and climates with small thermal oscillations. The vegetation where these truffles grows is very dense, and you can’t see the “truffle burnt” circles on the ground. The rainfall must be high, and there mustn’t be summer drought, because the rains in July and August are crucial for its growing. They mature from September to December and grow in symbiosis with oaks, poplars, willows, chestnut trees and lime trees. Nobody has achieved its cultivation.
 
Subglobose asci, elliptical, sessile and shortly pedunculate, from 60 – 90 x 50 – 60 µm, with 1 – 3 (4) spores (usually 2).

The spores are light yellow, ochre yellow when they mature. The shape varies from subglobose to ellipsoidal, honeycombed and with peaks of 4 – 5 µm. The reticulum is well marked, but is irregular and with polygonal alveoli, big, with 2 or 3 alveoli for increased length of spore and secondary peaks. The size varies from 20 – 33 x 20 – 30 µm (Q=1,05-1,33), depending on the number of spores in the asci.
10 de marzo de 2017

Tuber melanosporum vitt (BLACK TRUFFLE)

Generally known as Black Truffle or Perigord Truffle.
 
It is a hypogeum mushroom, the black diamond for cooking. It has spherical shape, with a warty, irregular appearance, with creases and random deformations. The size is very variable. The outer layer or peridium is blackish or dark brown, and it is lighter when it is young. It is covered with pyramidal shaped projections.
The inner part, called gleba, is the fertile part. It has a creamy colour that becomes black with violet tones when it matures. It is crossed by small white veins, profusely branched, that becomes reddish when the truffle matures or when it contacts the air. It is fleshy, compact and firm, with an intense and characteristic scent. Its flavour is soft, sweet, slightly bitter, but it is disguised with its scent.
 
The spores have a Deep brown colour, with elliptical or subglobose shape, and acute thorns, curvy and short. The size varies between 30 – 50 x 20 – 30 µm, and are opaque, with a dark golden colour.
 
Tuber Melanosporum grow in symbiosis with the roots of several trees: olms, oaks, galls, hazelnut trees… They grow best in chalky – alkaline pH- drained, porous and sunny soils. They grow at different depths, and matures on winter, from December to March. For this reason, stormy summers are great for a good black truffle harvesting season.
 
Its scent is deep, intense and very characteristic. It can be eaten raw or cooked, being one of the essential ingredients of the greatest restaurants.
It is often mistaken with Tuber Brumale Vitt and with Tuber Aestivum Vitt. The Aestivum is very similar in the outer, but the gleba has a creamy colour and a milder scent, and the harvesting period goes from May until July, not in winter.
9 de marzo de 2017

Tuber aestivum vitt (SUMMER TRUFFLE)

 
Generally known as black summer truffle. Its shape is spherical, bumpy, crumpled and has a warty look and texture. Its size is very variable, ranging from 3 cm to 13 cm, even though they have found bigger specimens. This tuber is born in the hypogeum, buried in the ground. Its colour is dark-brown or blackish, and is covered with pyramid-shaped projections.
 
Its inner part, called gleba, is crossed by small white veins, that runs tightly amongst a light brownish mass that darkens with age, when the ascospores mature. When the truffle is young, this mass is lighter, almost white, and you can’t distinguish the small veins. Its compact meat and dark flavour reminds that of nuts. Its scent, moderately intense, is initially pleasant, but it becomes musty when it overripes. It has a deep aroma and soft taste. You can use it raw or cooked. Its preservation is excellent.

The spores go from elliptical to subglobose, 20-45 x 18-35 µm. They are translucent and yellowish, with globe shaped and sessile asci, 50-110 x 50 x 70 µm. It usually has from 3 to 4 spores, reaching sometimes from 1 to 6.  
 
The truffles grow in symbiosis with several tree species: oaks, holms, beeches, and even coniferous trees. They grow best in sunny and chalky soils. It is common that it cracks the soil, because it fructifies at low deep, sometimes near the surface.
 
The harvesting season goes from May until July, and it is even longer if the conditions are right.

There is a variety of the Tuber Aestivum Vitt, called Tuber Mesetericum Vitt, that, for some mycologists, is a different kind of tuber, even though its microscopic characteristics are very similar. At sight, is sensibly smaller, with smaller projections and a pronounced hollow. But the main difference is in its smell, being the Tuber Mesentericum Vitt very unpleasant, unfit to serve for cooking. The tuber is very similar in the outside, but the gleba is almost black and the flavour much more intense. The harvesting season is on winter, from December to March.

The growth of the mycelium inhibits the growth of the plants, creating the famous “truffle burnt”, a circle around the mycorrhiza-seeded tree where no vegetation grows.
9 de marzo de 2017

How to preserve fresh truffle?

Truffles are one of the most precious products in gastronomy, for its intense and particular flavour. This is why it is called the black diamond of cooking. Once it is collected, this mushroom starts to loose scent, flavour and texture, so it is recommended to consume it fresh as soon as posible. This is the way to enjoy at its best its organoleptic qualities.
Here are some recomendations:

Keep always in the fridge
Wrap the truffle in a wet napkin
Slice or grate as a condiment, once the dish is ready
Consume in 3-4 days

It is important to know how the truffle is sent and cared once it is extracted from the ground.
Espora Gourmet has all the cares the truffle needs.

We clean and select the truffles one by one
We check out its quality
The customer knows it's traceability, place of origin, weight, scientific name, etc. (the ID of the truffle)
We pack them under a modified atmosphere, extending the life of the truffle.

This preservation system, reached after years of research, allows us to INCREASE the life of the truffle more than 10 days, without loosing any of its precious qualities.
Once the modified atmosphere bag is opened, we recommend to keep the truffle in the fridge wrapped in a wet napkin, just as if it was just received.
To preserve the truffle for a long time, the best way is freeze it (even though you will loose some flavour) in plastic wrap and in a freezing bag. It is important to make sure that the truffle doesn't breathe, because it would loose flavour. When you are ready to use it, do not freeze, just grate or slice it frozen.
In short, it would be ideal to consume the truffle fresh, to take advantage of all its exclusive properties.
More info and recipes in our blog: http://www.esporagourmet.com/blog/-recetas.html