White truffles (Tuber Magnatum Pico) have a smooth external layer that’s either light yellow or greenish, and an interior that varies from chestnut to hazelnut brown, plus perhaps some bright red nuances, and plenty of fine, light veining that appear when the truffles are cooked. The size ranges from that of a chickpea to a large orange. The perfume is intense and distinctive, not unlike methane and fermented cheese.
White truffles are gathered in hilly areas, along waterways, in shaded valleys and damp valley beds, on north-facing slopes, and in symbiosis with poplar, willow, hazelnut and English oak trees, but they can also grow in Apennine areas in mixed deciduous woodland, on the edge of farmed land or former pastures, alongside Turkey oak and hornbeam. The truffles can be gathered at any time of the year; a trained dog and a special tool, the vanghetto, is needed to dig out the tubers.
It is recommended that white truffles are eaten fresh so that they don’t lose most of their aromas and flavours.
In the autumn, white truffles are be eaten in restaurants, at food festivals and the markets that are regularly held in the Mugello, Casentino, Colline Sanminiatesi, Valtiberina and Crete Senesi.