Everything you always wanted to know about the most prized black truffle in the family: characteristics, uses in the kitchen and… secrets
What is the Precious Black Truffle, if not an extraordinary protagonist of tasty winter recipes? Also known as the Norcia Black Truffle, the Tuber Melanosporum Vitt. is the most prized of the black truffle family and brings with it a symphony of different flavours and aromas, perfect for enriching pasta and risotto fillings, sauces, and roasts.
Its harvest season runs from mid-November to mid-March, thus embracing almost the entire winter period. But what are the secrets and characteristics of the Precious Black Truffle?
Precious black truffle: characteristics
Let’s start with the basics: how do you recognise a Precious Black Truffle? This variety of truffle is distinguished by its outer skin, known as the peridium, which is dotted with dark warts, tending to black, with reddish or purplish reflections. Whereas the gleba of the “Nero Pregiato”, or the inner part, has a pitch-black colour, with very dense and irregular white veins.
The aroma of this black truffle is also very characteristic: delicate and pleasant, almost sweetish. These characteristics are also found in its very sweet flavour, reminiscent of chocolate: all this makes it a unique and extremely versatile ingredient in cooking.
In fact, this truffle, unlike the white truffle, is not affected by cooking (which must in any case be short and non-violent), and therefore does not lose its extraordinary flavour, as happens with other truffles. Therefore, it lends itself to a wide variety of different uses in the kitchen.
But although the Precious Black Truffle tolerates cooking, one must never forget to treat it with kid gloves… both metaphorically and otherwise. Therefore, it is advisable to follow the advice on how best to clean the truffle, without rubbing it too much, and, if it is leftover, use one of the right methods to store it in the refrigerator.
How to use the Precious Black truffle in the kitchen
Since fresh black truffle season is from November to March, the aromas and flavour of this type of truffle can be used for winter-flavoured recipes: spaghetti or tagliatelle with black truffle, potato and truffle creams, roasts or in combination with vegetables or polenta (with the delicious addition of cream cheese).
Black truffle risotto is also a true gourmet dish: the truffle creaming adds an extraordinary flavour with a sweet aftertaste to the dish. The sweet flavour of this type of truffle is also perfect for creating new and tasty recipes, such as chicken breast stuffed with champignons mushroom pâté and Precious Black Truffle.
Chicken breast, by itself, may seem like one of the simplest dishes to prepare; but when it is stuffed with our Champignons Mushroom Pate and Tartufo Nero Pregiato, it instantly becomes a winter main course that will surprise and delight any palate. The same goes for ordinary fried eggs: a grating of freshly grated Precious Black Truffle can transform them into a second course full of flavour and charm.
Speaking of the Precious Black Truffle, we have emphasised its versatility: have you ever thought, for example, of using it on pizza? Don’t you think it’s possible?
Yes, it is! A drizzle of our Tartufo Nero Pregiato Flavoured Oil after cooking is the right solution to make a simple marinara pizza unique; on the other hand, Trivelli’s Champignons Mushroom and Tartufo Nero Pregiato Paté can complete and make extraordinary even a classic pizza with speck and gorgonzola cheese.
However, the versatility of this black truffle does not stop there. In fact, thanks to its sweet flavour, this truffle is also particularly suitable for cream-based desserts, tiramisu, or panna cotta.
Where to find the Precious Black Truffle?
As we mentioned, the harvesting period for the most precious truffle of the black truffle family runs from mid-November to mid-March and covers practically the entire winter. But where does it grow? What is its habitat?
This black truffle likes sunny, warm environments and limestone soils rich in crushed stone and calcium, from 300 to 1000 metres above sea level.
Like all truffles, this hypogeous fungus grows in symbiosis with other plants and has its favourites, which are the downy oak, turkey oak, hazelnut, black hornbeam, linden, and rockrose.
In addition to Norcia, which gives its name to this variety (also called Black Norcia Truffle), the Precious Black Truffle is also found in other areas of Italy, such as the Apennines, as well as in Piedmont, Marche, and Molise. Artificial truffle grounds have also proved to be a fertile breeding ground for the “Tartufo Nero Pregiato”.
Do you fancy trying it in some recipes? If you are wondering where you can buy truffles, you must know that there are many possibilities: online, fairs, piazze dei trifolau, companies and specialised shops. Obviously, to be sure of making an excellent purchase, it is advisable to rely on trusted sellers or be accompanied by an expert.
Once you have brought home and cleaned your Precious Black Truffle, all that remains is to add it to your recipe, to create a surely extraordinary dish!