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White truffle of Tuscany

white truffle Tuscan white truffle (tartufo bianco) has a light yellow or light green exterior and a rather soft light-brown interior sometimes going over into red and marked by small, dense, light-coloured veins that disappear on cooking. Sizes vary from that of a maize kernel to (rarely) an orange. It has a strong, very pleasant aroma totally sui generis.

Area of production

It is found in a few small areas of the north-eastern Tuscan Alps and in a quite wide strip running from the lower Arno Valley (Pisa, Pontedera) south to near the border with Latium. A recent regional law, LD 50/95, establishes five well-defined categories of white-truffle lands: Mugello, Casentino, Val Tiberina, Colline Samminiatesi and the Crete Senesi. Current production

The hunting of white truffles

Truffle hunting is a traditional hobby pastime in Tuscany, beginning in the nineteen-thirties. Today there are no fewer than eight very lively amateur societies devoted to the sport. Truffles are eaten raw, sliced or ground onto and into other dishes,
(e.g. pasta, sauces, meats, dressings) they lose their flavour if cooked.
In legal theory if not always in universal practice, truffle digging is allowed from 10th September to 31st December and is most rewarding in high hilly areas that are rather dry during the summer, along little water courses in shady and moist valleys, and on the north and therefore humid sides of Alpine slopes, especially along pastures and ploughed fields under deciduous trees: oaks, hornbeams, ironwoods, &c.
Truffle hunting is done with trained sniffer dogs and small digging hoes. Truffles must be kept in closed containers in cool or refrigerated venues.

(fonte APT Siena)