Written by Lina Petraglione
Native of southern Italy, Lina lives in Cercemaggiore at about one thousand meters above sea level. She loves to walk in the nature that surrounds her house and the family pasta factory. She has always been passionate about quality food and wild herbs, which far from work she loves to harvest in the unspoilt countryside of her village.
Whatever people say, the undisputed home of the Truffle is Molise, in fact from here comes 60% of all national production. In particular, we can speak of Molise as the home of fine white truffles, the top of the range of this imposing ruler of food. The Molise truffle is famous all over the world because of its habitat, natural and uncontaminated. Here nature is intact, it has not undergone industrial manipulation. Consequently the scent and taste of this mushroom are unique in the world. Dear reader friends, today I will tell you about the Molise truffle and how fascinating this world is, made of nature, walks at dawn, the smell of earth, dew... A land that does not exist for many, but for those who know it, live in it, or have walked in it at least once, it will carry it in their hearts forever. I live in a small mountain village, located about a thousand meters above sea level. My pasta factory is located in the middle of the countryside, surrounded by open, uncultivated fields. It's made of wild nature, pure and fresh air, songs of nightingales in the morning, colourful butterflies, fireflies that guide the grain towards maturation. It is not difficult to find the black truffle in the surroundings of my farm and my home. In fact, during the months of the harvest, the quarrymen crowd into the search. We are talking about the world of truffles, all the bioavailable types, where to find them, how to harvest them and how to grow them. Yes, because we in Molise cultivate it and I will explain how, in the course of this article. What is the Truffle It is an underground fungus that is generated and carries out its life cycle underground. Its shape recalls that of a tuber. It is composed mainly of the fleshy component, called gleba and the bark called peridium. Nutritional characteristics It contains an important percentage of water, fibres and mineral salts, such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc and copper. The mineral salts absorb them directly from the soil. It also contains very few calories. In fact, 100g of truffle provides only 30 kcal. This is due to the concentration of water, 70% of the composition. The black truffle is an excellent remedy for lightening skin spots. The spots are characterized by an excess of melanin in the circumscribed area. The consumption of truffles causes its pigments to join the melanin deactivating it in the affected area. How it was born Its conception takes place in symbiosis with the roots of other plants. These can be oak, linden, hazelnut, willow and poplar. The process of nutrient exchange between roots and fungus is called mycorrhiza. Where it is born The truffle is born and lives underground. It does not grow everywhere, but only in the presence of other plants, where it will bind with their roots. The natural habitat of this mushroom varies according to the type of truffle. The lowest common denominator for all types of truffle is the presence of calcium in the soil. However, it remains an unpredictable fungus, as it can be found in areas not always accredited for its harvest. All this, evidently, because of some strange game of fate and weaving of nutrients useful to its subsistence. Typologies Black Truffle (Summer Scorzone) Scientific name Tuber Aestivum Vitt, we are facing the black summer truffle, also called scorzone. It collects from May to the end of August. It adapts to different areas of the undergrowth, as long as they are rich in calcium. It prefers soils composed of breccia, therefore very draining. It has a rather hard black (gleba) peel. It has a soft pulp (peridium) that has several shades. It also has light veins, ranging from white to dark hazelnut. Precious Black Truffle Tuber melanosporum Vittad in art fine black truffle. It is harvested from November to March. It has an intense and persistent scent that is not affected at all by cooking. The colour of the flesh is intense black, with very evident white veins. It is rather difficult to find, apart from the fact that production is very limited anyway. This gives it added value, also in economic terms.
Tuber Magnatum Pico, the undisputed king of truffles. Molise is the leading national producer of White Truffle, with well over 60% of total Italian production.
The white truffle is picked between September and December. It is not easy to find, so this has given it a place as a leader in the sector. It clearly has a rather high price, as it is not easy to find. It is a very precious product because of its delicacy and its very intense aroma. It is suitable for many preparations in the kitchen, and is excellent used raw, cut into thin strips.
The municipalities of Molise most interested and rich in white truffle are Frosolone, Plugs e Saint Peter Avellana. In this last village, every year, the White Truffle Festival takes place. The town is part of the National Association of Truffle Cities which aims to obtain the prestigious UNESCO recognition, with the inclusion of the "Search and extraction of the Truffle in Italy", as intangible heritage.
While in Spinete, a record-breaking giant white truffle, weighing 1,080 kg, was harvested and auctioned for $200,000 in Macao, China. The Molise Region donated the proceeds to Telethon.
Tuber Albidum Pico or Tuber Borchii Vitt vulgarly called Tartufo Bianchetto.
It is very similar to its white truffle brother, in fact it has an irregular shape and an off-white peridium. The difference lies in the scent of the product itself. The whitebait exudes a faint smell at an early stage, but afterwards it tends to be spicier, with strong notes similar to garlic. While Magnatum always remains delicate and balanced. Another difference is the colour of the flesh, much darker in the whitebait.
It is a good alternative to Magnatum, especially in economic terms. Being less valuable, it costs much less than the White Truffle.
Truffle is often used raw, sliced on eggs.
Boiled egg with extra virgin olive oil and white truffle
Truffle production, is it possible?
As already mentioned, in Molise we have a not indifferent production of black summer truffles. In fact, in the regional nursery "Forest of the field" located in Campochiaro (CB) expert operators in the field produce mycorrhizate seedlings. In essence, they plant the spores of the black truffle at the roots of vehicle seedlings such as oak, hazelnut, etc. ... The Department of Agriculture and Forestry of the Molise Region, by virtue of the service of protection and enhancement of forest heritage, has made possible this extraordinary production. Therefore, our research and experimentation centre has become in the last few years a focal point for the whole central-southern Italy, regarding the production of truffle plants. Moreover, it avails itself of a very qualified and competent staff, which has been producing truffles for years.
Center for the production of truffle seedlings
The aim of the Molise centre is to promote the economic development that revolves around this impressive Molise product. The center was inaugurated on September 13, 2011 and today deals with research and experimentation on the production of truffles, as well as production and sale of truffle seedlings.
This is because in recent years truffle-grounds are running out and, as a result, truffle production is becoming increasingly scarce.
Another decisive cause is the wild and totally vandalic harvesting of truffles. In fact, some seekers, not sticking to the periods of rotation, go to collect the truffle indiscriminately. This determines the destruction of the natural truffle.
Currently the center works with seeds of native plants. In particular, the species in question are Q. Pubescens, Q. Cerris, Q. Ilex and Corylus Avellana mycorrhizate with Tuber Aestivum Vitt spores from truffles collected in Molise.
In addition to the production of mycorrhizate plants, the centre offers experimental activities with the planting of experimental truffle beds in different points of the Molise region.
Truffle on the shop of Spighe Molisane
On our shop you can find, depending on the period, fresh truffles, from summer black or summer scorzone, to fine black to fine white and whitebait. We also have truffle products available all year round. You can find the complete list of all products here.
Collection, shipping and delivery
From the woods of Molise to your home
Collectionour quarrymen are young boys who walk daily to the truffle grounds.
Delivery at our premisesThe delivery takes place within a few hours according to the requirements
PackagingThe product is vacuum-packed and packaged in isothermal containers into which we also insert the ice.
ShippingThe package is shipped the same day, (unless the order arrives after the courier) with express shipping to ensure delivery within 24 hours.
DeliveryWithin 24 hours the truffle arrives in your hands to be tasted as you wish.
How much is the truffle?The price is variable and depends on the harvest season. On average, fine white varies from 2000€ to 3500€ per kg, fine black can vary from 300 to 600€, whitebait is usually around 400€ while summer black or scorzone can vary from 200 to 500€ depending on the size. For more details on the average price of truffles we invite you to visit the online bag page of acqualagna.com but in molise prices are usually slightly different. What factors can I determine the price of truffles?The factors that most affect the price are: 1. The quantity collected 2. Question 3. The state of preservation 4. Size 5. Harvesting period How do you store truffles?It can be stored for a few days in the fridge. I particularly recommend wrapping it in a paper towel and then putting it in a glass jar. This helps to retain a minimum amount of moisture and avoids total sensory invasion inside your refrigerator. Alternatively, it can be frozen but in this case, when the time comes to consume it, it should be used immediately without letting it thaw. How to eat trufflesIn case you bought it from our shop, it will have arrived with a light soil on the surface. I recommend cleaning it with a soft bristle brush to remove any residue. At this point you are ready to make your truffle dish!
Recipe: Spaghetti with fresh black truffle
In this dish, made by me, I propose you our Artisan Spaghetti with the wonderful summer fresh black or scorzone (usually available from May to November) harvested in mid-May near the Spighe Molisane pasta factory.
Time: 15 minutes.
Ingredients for 2 people: 250 grams of spaghetti, summer scorzone, parsley, oil.
Preparation: Pour the spaghetti into boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Drizzle the spaghetti with oil, put them on the plate and add truffle and parsley.
Homemade spaghetti with freshly grated summer black truffle
Well, our wonderful journey inside the Molise truffle is over. I hope I have intrigued and encouraged you to taste it 😉
I'll be waiting for you in my shop and on my blog. From Molise is all, for the moment.