The scent of a fresh truffle is indescribable. It fills the room almost instantly when fresh, and the flavor is heady, sweetly earthy and luxurious. Regarded as the “diamond of the kitchen” by 18th-century French gastronome Brillat-Savarin, the truffle is internationally known for its prized and unmistakable flavor.
Symbiotic in nature, fresh truffles are found in the soil beneath oak, and sometimes beech and hazel trees. By drawing carbohydrates from the tree and converting the energy to construct filaments, the spores of truffles produce an expanding web of fungus beneath the soil. In return, these filaments on the root tip collect an abundance of nutrients for the tree. It is due to this essential relationship that the truffle is unable to be cultivated.
Once the fruit emerges from the filament, young truffles rapidly increase in size and weight during the heat of August and September months. Eventually the growth slows and the fruit begins to ripen, breathing an incredible perfume through the earth. As the autumn harvest reaches its peak, this gastronomic delicacy begins to emerge in the bustling outdoor markets across Italy and France.
The Italian white truffle (Tuber Magnatum) is most famously associated with the Piemonte town of Alba, in the province of Cuneo, Italy. While Alba was once the center of the Italian truffle harvest, due to over-harvesting, it is now quite rare to find a true “Alba” truffle. Today, Tuber Magnatum truffles of excellent quality are harvested in various parts of Italy including Umbria, Abruzzo and Le Marche. In the world of truffles, the whites are the finest and most highly regarded of all truffles. Their season runs from late October to late December, but they are usually depleted by January.
The Burgundy truffle (Tuber Uncinatum and also Tuber Aestivum), also known as the summer truffle, is grown throughout Europe including central-eastern France, northern Italy and eastern Spain. These truffles are readily available from September through November.
The winter black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) is typically sourced from the Périgord region of France. It is during the month of January when black truffles are at their peak, though available as early as December until late March.
Formaggio Kitchen is proud to offer these elusive, highly esteemed delicacies on a seasonal basis. To guarantee freshness and quality, all truffles are available by special order. Please feel free to approach a member of our produce team with any questions you may have or to place an order. We are also happy to take orders or answer questions via phone at: 617-354-4750.