Nowadays, over a hundred of truffle species are known around the world, of which only several dozens of the Tuber genus have been found in Europe. Just few of them are edible and appreciated.
In the province of Teruel two kinds of truffle are harvested:
Tuber melanosporum Vitt = Tuber nigrum
It is commonly known as Winter black truffle or Black truffle of Teruel.
The body or sarcocarp of the black truffle normally has the size of a walnut or a tennis ball, rounded or irregular and lobed.
The peel or peridium, adhered to the gleba (flesh), has a warty aspect and is either black or dark red. Its firm warts have a polygonal shape of 3-5 mm.
The gleba or flesh of the black truffle is thick, compact and grey or violet colored. It has very thin white veins, clearly marked and branched.
They give off a characteristic smell; intense and pleasant.
Their taste is unique, unmistakable and characteristic.
The harvesting season of this truffle is between November and March.
It is the black truffle variety most valued in the market, hence its culinary value.
Depending on the eye of the beholder, it can be considered a piece of jewelry.
Tuber aestivum Vitt
It is also known as Summer white truffle.
Its sarcocarp can be variable in size; from a walnut to a tennis ball. It also has round or irregular shape, as the black truffle, sometimes with small concavities.
Its peel or peridium has a warty aspect and is dark brown or black. The warts are pyramidal (5-7 sides) and quite thick (4-10 mm), with steady and hard edges. The peel is adhered to the gleba, as that of black truffles.
The main difference between Tuber aestivum Vitt. and Tuber melanosporum Vitt. is their inner part or gleba. The Tuber aestivum Vitt. also has a thick and fleshy gleba but it is white, yellow or ivory colored. Its numerous veins, white as well, are tree shaped and a little pressed.
The smell and flavor of the summer truffle is also pleasant and characteristic, though less strong.
This truffle has less culinary value and it is considered Tuber melanosporum’s younger sister.
Its harvesting season is between May and August.
These two species must not be confused with other truffle substitutes that are also in the market and their culinary quality is far away from the above mentioned. We advise you to check the label when you buy a truffle, as it should state the species and Latin name.