Truffles are fungi that grow underground, in symbiosis with the roots of trees. There are more than twenty-five varieties of truffles in Italy, but only a few are edible and have commercial importance. Here are some of them:
White Truffle - Tuber Magnatum Pico (from October to December)
It’s picked in autumn, mainly in the San Miniato hills and the Siena area, as well as in the Valtiberina, Mugello, and Casentino woods. White truffles are gathered in hilly areas, along riverbanks, in shady valleys, on damp valley floors, and on hillsides facing north. Sizes vary from that of a chick-pea to a large orange, and it gives out a strong pleasing aroma similar to fermented cheese.
Precious Black truffle - Tuber Melanosporum (from November to March)
Precious black Truffle is not very common in Tuscany. It needs cold and dry weather to reach its peak. Its fragrance is aromatic and not too pungent, and its flavour is delicate.
Marzuolo truffle - Tuber Bochii (from January to April)
Bianchetto or Marzuolo, particularly widespread in Tuscany, can be found in the same areas as the white truffle, along the coasts of Pisa, Livorno and Maremma. The smell is very strong, with scents of garlic, and it’s suitable for countless recipes.
Scorzone truffle - Tuber aestivum Vitt. (from May to August)
The Scorzone is very frequent in calcareous soils and oak and pine forests. It has a wrinkled surface and a yellow bronze flesh with many light-coloured streaks and a delicate aroma similar to that of mushrooms.