Flavours of Umbria
Black truffles in Umbria
PRIZED UMBRIAN BLACK TRUFFLES
The prized black truffle of Umbria (Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini) is the most common variety of the region and is known as the Norcia and Spoleto Truffle, found in the areas of Cascia, Preci, Monteleone di Spoleto, Poggiodomo, Scheggino, Sant'Anatolia di Narco, Vallo di Nera, Cerreto di Spoleto, Sellano, Campello sul Clitunno, Castel Ritaldi, Giano dell'Umbria and Stroncone. They are found in all of the areas that run along the Nera River and, in the Province of Perugia, mainly on Mount Subasio. They thrive in clayey-limestone earth and live in symbiosis with oak, holm-oak, beech and chestnut trees. Its size varies from that of a walnut to that of an apple. Round, often irregular in shape, it has a rough but not spiky exterior. Its aroma is unforgettable, the pulp a dark red-black with thin white veins.
The scorzone variety is less prized than the black truffle. Depending on the season, it is called summer (tuber aestivum) or autumn scorzone (forma uncinatum): similar in shape although they ripen at different times. The summer version can grow to become quite large, its aroma is not strong and certainly less intense than the prized black truffle. It grows in sandy-clayey ground in woods of broad-leafed trees, and sometimes even in pine stands. It is gathered from May to December and is very often used to make sauces and flavour cured meats like salami. It has a smooth exterior, a burnt-brown colour and very evident veins.
BLACK WINTER TRUFFLES AND MOSCATO TRUFFLES
These two varieties (tuber brumale and muschatum) are very common in Umbria as they are less choosy, if you will, about where they grow. They are black on the outside and dry to the touch. Inside they are dark grey with very evident white veining. The moscato variety is black on the inside with very wide veining. The former has a strong penetrating aroma, while the latter less so. They both ripen in the winter months.