The Périgord black truffle
What exactly is a black truffle?
Tuber melanosporum, also known as black truffle, black spore truffle or Périgord truffle, is a species of edible mushroom which, in order to bear fruit, enters into symbiosis with the host tree (in this case, the root of an oak, a pine, a lime tree, etc.) in a limestone soil.
It is harvested between December and March. If it is planted, it can be harvested after 5 to 8 years!
As it is not visible to the eye, the presence of a truffle dog is necessary to detect it.
It can be found in China, Sweden, Croatia and the United States, but the best known, tastiest and most fragrant truffles grow in France (particularly in the Périgord region) and in Italy.
What about the white truffle?
It grows mainly in Italy (in Alba in particular, in Piedmont), and is more coveted than the black truffle, because it is rarer and more difficult to find and cultivate. According to experts, the subtlety of its smell, which is more pronounced and heady than its taste, is incomparable…
That being said, in the world of truffle growing, we don’t think in terms of black truffles or white truffles, but in terms of varieties of truffles.
Has the black truffle always been a star?
Renowned for its powerful fragrance and subtle aromas (evocative of forest, earth and humidity), the black truffle has been known since ancient times when it was used in sauces and mixed with spices. In Roman times, for example, it was served at the end of a meal, marinated in ginger and cinnamon.
Evidence of the use of truffles can only be found in the Renaissance, the black truffle having been brought up to date by the Popes of Italy.
But it was Brillat-Savarin, known as a French gastronome and culinary author, who gave the Périgord truffle its letters of nobility in the 19th century.
Today considered a luxury product, it can be found in the Dordogne on many markets and naturally in all gastronomic restaurants.
It’s better to say it…
Not to be confused with the summer truffle (more affordable in terms of price because it is less rare) which is found between June and September, nor with the chocolate truffle, so called because its appearance is very similar to our famous mushroom…
Tasting advice: Raw, cut into very thin slices on lightly buttered toast so as not to lose any of its taste. It can also be enjoyed grated directly onto fresh pasta or rice.
A tip for flavouring your eggs: lock the truffle in the egg carton for a few days, and your eggs will be impregnated with its exquisite smell and taste. Enjoy your meal!
7 December 2022