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In the laboratory, species are determined through the analysis of the spores or biomolecular analysis.
63 species of fungi worldwide have been classified as Tuber. In Italy, there are 25, but only 9 are edible and only 6 are widely available on the market.
Botanical description of the truffle species
It has a globe-like shape with flat and irregular parts. The peridium is light yellow or ochre, and can have red and brown spots. The interior hides a ramification of white, thin veins and varies in colour, from milk white to intense pink and light brown. The size is variable. It can easily reach the size of a large apple, but some specimens can be well over a kilo! It is harvested in the late summer and fall until the beginning of winter. The harvest start and end dates are established every year by the regional administrations. It grows spontaneously and cannot be cultivated. Aside from the regions of northern and central Italy, it is exclusively found in Istria.
The complex aromatic compounds of truffle
It has a globe-like shape, sometimes with lobes, a brown-black colour and a rough texture. The gleba is brown or reddish black, streaked with thin and light branching veins. It can be as big as a large apple, or bigger. It is harvested throughout winter and particularly in the first months of the year, mostly around oak, hazelnut and hop hornbeam trees. The harvest start and end dates are established every year by the regional administrations. It is widespread all over Italy and it is also appreciated in France and Spain. This truffle, the most prestigious among the black truffles, can be cultivated in the truffière.