Black truffles, a specialty in italian cooking
Black truffles are one of the most expensive food items in the world, second only to their white counterparts. This is because Italian black truffles are rare, not farmable, and difficult to find. Add to this the unique qualities of their aroma and a flavor that can render even the simplest plate of pasta worthy of a Renaissance Pope.
Fresh truffles are something to be coveted. These jewels of the earth are uncovered in limited quantities, making prices fluctuate in line with supply and demand. The black truffle in particular is rooted in the local gastronomy of the regions it is native to, and enthusiasts embark on pilgrimages to places, such as Norcia in Umbria, to savor them fresh and in traditional recipes.
There are two types: the Tartufo nero pregiato (meaning “select”), and the estivo (“summer”), also known as the scorzone. The first originates in the Central Apennines, Piemonte and Veneto from November to March, and is characterized by a black, warty surface with some pink if immature. The interior is dark brown, with compact ivory veining. It is aromatic, not too pungent, and delicate to the palate. The latter matures May to August, has larger protrusions and is hazelnut inside. It is the more common variety with a taste similar to Porcini mushrooms.