Italian truffles are prized for their intense aroma and flavor that can elevate a humble dish of pasta to gastronomic heights. Truffles grow best in a humid, colder climate. They are found in forests throughout northern Piedmont and central parts of Tuscany as well as Umbria and Le Marche growing beneath various tree species, such as willow, poplar, hazelnut, and oak.
There are around 30 different types of truffles in Italy but only a handful are edible. The main varieties are grown in winter and are usually named for their color – white or black.
White truffles have an irregular shape, are smooth, and range from white to ochre in color. Their aroma is earthy, and the flavor may include notes of garlic, nuts, or honey. The Langhe province near the city of Alba in Piedmont is the most famous region for Italian white truffles however they are also available in Le Marche, Tuscany, and Umbria.
Nero Pregiato or sweet black truffles are another prestigious variety but they are more common and remain fresh for longer than white truffles. Available from mid-November to mid-March, they are milder in flavor than the white, with some describing the aroma as having notes of chocolate, earth, or dried fruit.