Know your truffles Part I – Tuber Brumale (Winter Truffles)

First out in our “Know your truffles” series is the tuber brumale. This article will highlight its characteristics, value on the market, which foods and recipes it works with, where it grows and when it can be harvested (which is also when you will be able to find it in stock on our website). 

So how do you avoid confusing the tuber brumale with its very similar siblings? 

First of all, let’s get back to basics…

Tuber brumale, is a winter truffle, and is characterized by its very dark (almost black) skin that can sometimes be reddish at the base of the warts. It has slightly longer and thinner spikelets than other tuber truffles. The size can vary and goes from an average of 2-10 cm in diameter. On the inside its beautifully marbled with an intersection of clear veins that can be white or light grey. The veins are also usually longer and fewer than in other dark truffles and do not change colour when exposed to the air, but do always remain as they are. 

The aroma can be perceived as as strong, pleasant and variable and similar to the tuber melanosporum (see part II). It is often described as a mix between fermented fruit, bitter yeast, nuts, hazelnuts and according to Vittadini as “the bark of the dogwood”.

It belongs to the “tuber family” that includes other tuber truffles such as the tuber melanosporum and the tuber aestivum (we’ll talk more about them in KYT part II and III). Tuber truffles are so called ectomycorrhizal fungi (mushroom) and are currently quite widespread around the world. 

They mainly grow in Italy, across the whole country (from north to south) and in some parts of Spain. It can also be harvested in the Balkans, Greece but you can also find it in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and in South America. 

They are easily found it in areas that are rich in oak trees or other large woods with big amounts of shred leaves, something that typically happens in autumn every year. This truffle gets its aroma and colour from its surrounding and the ideal environment for it are a mix of high humidity

According to the regional law in both Italy and Spain, the tuber brumale can be officially collected starting from November 15, until March 15 each year. Hence, why it’s called a black winter truffe. 

So, to summarize what we’ve been talking about:

Where does it grow?

It grows in the south of Europe and in the Balkans. Mainly in Italy and Spain. 

When is it collected?

In both Italy and Spain, the tuber brumale is officially collected between November 15 and March 15 each year. This also means that you are able to find it fresh on our website during this period and sent it directly to your home.