Mushrooms and Edible Fungi

What do truffles look like?

Truffles have a rather unappealing appearance—they are somewhat round, but irregularly shaped, and have thick, rough, wrinkled skin that varies from off-white to almost black in color. The fruiting bodies present on truffles are fragrant, fleshy structures that usually grow to about the size of a golf ball; they range from white, gray, or brown to nearly black in color. Nearly seventy varieties of truffles are known, but the most desirable is the black truffle—also known as black diamond—that grows in France’s Perigord and Quercy regions, as well as Italy’s Umbria region. The flesh of the black diamond appears to be black, but it is actually dark brown and contains white striations. The flesh has an aroma that is extremely pungent. The second most popular is the white truffle (actually off-white or beige) of Italy’s Piedmont region. Both the aroma and flavor of this truffle are earthy and garlicky. Fresh truffles are available from late fall to midwinter and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.


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