What is the truffle
The truffle is a fruiting body of mushrooms belonging to the genus Tuber that completes its entire life cycle underground (hypogeum). It must necessarily live in symbiosis with arboreal plants to produce the precious sporocarp. It is formed by an outer covering called peridium, which may be paper-thin to thick and rubbery or even hard, and of variable colour, from pale to dark. Unlike common mushrooms that develop fruiting bodies above the ground, hypogean mushrooms cannot exploit air currents to disperse the spores.
Therefore, they have a strong smell, perceivable only at the moment of the maturation of the spores, attracting insects and mammals that, eating the truffle, provide for the diffusion of the spores.
When and how you collect it
In order to “find” a truffle, the truffle hunter, the so-called “trifolao“, must avail himself of the collaboration of a trained dog with a very fine nose to recognize the aroma of this mushroom. Truffle hunters must hold a special card and pay an annual fee. There are also harvest calendars referring to the different species of Tuber and varying from one region to the other.
When the dog smells the truffle in the woods, he shows it to the hunter who extracts it with the utmost delicacy using a particular hoe.
With regard to the Alba White Truffle, the hunting and marketing are allowed from September 21 to January 31.