What Truffles are?


Truffles are the fruit bodies of a subterranean mushroom, hypogean fungus, called mycelium. They develop only in symbiosis relation with the root system of certain hardwood trees. They belong to the order of tuberales (ascomycetes). This relation, or partnership, between the roots and the truffle is called “mycorhize symbiosis”. The plant provides sugars to the truffle, which it cannot make because it does not carry chlorophyll; meanwhile, the truffle transfers to the plant dissociated mineral salts that the plant is unable to assimilate itself. The truffle needs a partner tree to develop and this is possible through the vegetative system of the mycelium. The mycelium is a white mold constituted by thousands of very thin filaments called “ife”. As we said above, it is the mycelium, from the mycorhize, which gives birth to little truffles. During the months of May and June, the mycelium retracts to form a little pellet- little ball- called “primordial”. If the primordial do not die, around July, these little balls will grow and become independent from the mother tree. During the summer, the truffle will develop to its normal size of 30-50 grams. Just at the time of hunting the smell and the color will evolve perfectly. The truffles are found by their intense smell, not by their size.


The “gleba,” or flesh, of the truffle is always marble-like with the presence of little veins. The gleba is protected on the outside by a variable cortical layer called “peridio”. The peridio could have its surface smooth, or rough or even warted. The color could be white, yellow-grey, brown or blackish.


The truffle is composed of: 75% water; 8% proteins; 7% glucides; 6% cellulose; 2% ashes; 0.5% lipids.


The truffle needs three essential end connected elements to grow: the particular soil, the climate and the host tree.

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Where they grow?

What truffle needs to grow!

"Di cosa ha bisogno il tartufo per venir in essere"


The truffle needs three essential and connected elements to grow:

- The right Soil; - The right Climate; - The right Tree;

 The favorable terrain is a clay-soil and calcareous compact on the surface. In the lower layer the ideal is great humidity, good source of calcium carbonate and free from thick underbrush.


As the pictures show, several patched or circles of soft, burnt ground having no spontaneous vegetation.  These rings are called “pianelli” in Italian and “brûlé” in French. These areas around the tree are a good indication that truffles are growing underground.


As you can see, European hazelnut trees (Corylus avellana) are also commonly used because of their rapid growth and extensive root system and they also allow for earlier production.

the above picture, October 2006, shows a black truffle Melanosporum Vitt in symbiosis with the hazelnut tree, pushing through the surface.




One thing, that is certain, where the truffle grows the soil is uncontaminated, because the truffle needs organic soil to grow!