In the province of Siena there are mainly three types of truffles: the white truffle, the marzuolo or whitish truffle and the scorzone or summer truffle.
(Tuber magnatum pico)
Peridium: smooth, light yellow, sometimes with greenish or ochre yellow tones.
Gleba: yellowish with hazel or brown hues, sometimes with red punctuation, crossed by a dense texture of very thin white veins.
Form: it can be round or even very lobato, or decidedly crushed, depending on the type of soil in which the truffle has grown.
Size: This species has very variable sizes, with specimens that can reach sizes of up to several hectares and even exceed a kilo of weight.
Maturity period: September to December.
Indicative price: this is the most commercially valuable species, due to its very high sensory qualities. The price, which varies with the size and shape of the individual truffle, is mainly linked to the annual trend of production, but it is always very high because the demand far exceeds the availability of the product. Therefore it is generally always higher than 500 euros per kilo. However, in the last 3-4 years, due to the particularly poor harvests, there have been peaks of up to 3-4,000 euros for large specimens.
The white truffle in the kitchen: it is a species with an intense and penetrating scent, reminiscent of that of methane or fermented cheese. It lends itself to being eaten raw on hot dishes that exalt the aroma without masking it.
How to recognize it: for the smooth peridium, the light colors, the unmistakable scent, the autumn development period.
marzuolo or whitish truffle
(Tuber albidum Pico or Vitt studs.)
Peridium: smooth, light color, variable from white-ochre to reddish.
Gleba: clear tending from the soft black to the brown, with wide and small white veins.
Form: variable, generally rounded if the truffle has grown in sandy soils, sometimes irregular, with a gibbous surface.
Size: The average size of this truffle is quite small, like a hazelnut or a little more, but it can reach up to the size of a chicken egg.
Ripening period: January to April.
Indicative price: generally low, given the small size, ranging from a minimum of 75 to a maximum of about 300 euros/kg.
The marzuolo truffle in the kitchen: the strong scent, with awey tones, and the strong and durable flavor make it a suitable seasoning for various dishes, as long as you do not subject it to prolonged cooking, similarly to the white truffle.
How to recognize it: for the smooth peridium, the light or reddish colors, the small size, the aceric scent, the era of late winter-spring development.
scorzone or summer TRUFFLE
(Tuber aestivum Vitt.)
Peridium: wart, formed by protruding warts, coarse and pointed at the end, black.
Gleba: hazelnut with yellowish shades, crossed by very branched white veins, more or less fine.
Shape: Generally round.
Size: the peel has a fairly high average size; sometimes some specimens can reach half a kilo in weight.
Maturity period: June to November.
Indicative price: this truffle manage to have reasonable prices on the market, roughly equivalent to those of the marzuolo truffle because, despite the good size, it is often marketed immature, when it still does not emanate its typical, delicate fungal aroma.
The Summer truffle in the kitchen: because it has a soft scent, it is used as a base for preparations with other ingredients.
How to recognize it: for the coarsely warty peridium (hence the name “scorzone”), the sembilas lighter than the other species of “black truffles”, the generally high size and, above all, the predominantly summer ripening period.
Texts from the Tuscany Region’s brochure “The Tuscany of Truffles” available in pdf at the following link: click here