Black summer truffle

Searching for the black summer truffle (also called “scorzone”)

In the place where I live, even nowadays, searching for black summer truffles, especially for the Tuber Aestivum Vittadini or “Scorzone”, is not seen as something serious or important. It is generally considered as a way to train the dog for the “more prestigious” Tuber Magnatum Pico or “Rapone”.

In fact, searching for truffles in these areas, is seen as an auxiliary source of profit, useful to integrate a bigger income, earned from working in the countryside. That is why there was not enough time for searching truffles from May to August in the past.
It was not (and it is still not) convenient to risk your dog’s safety for little money: considering that a kg of black summer truffles is worth less than 100 gr of fine white truffles, it is not worthwhile taking so many risks such as: a bite from a viper, a sudden heatstroke or the ingestion of grass seeds or wild oat that can be lethal for your dogs if not treated as an emergency.

Normally, this kind of search was practiced only to gain experience by young people with young dogs (it is so sad to say) that could possibly be sacrificed.

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black summer truffle

One more thing makes this search for Black Summer Truffles even easier and not very challenging: when a truffle establishes a symbiosis with a godmother plant, it synthesizes and releases a natural enzyme that is a strong herbicide.

 

The consequence of this is that, plants producing Black Truffle are really easy to find because there is no grass around them and this spot of land is called  in different ways depending on the region.
And there is more! The truffles born close to the surface can be really easy to find even without a dog!

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But nowadays things have changed.
After the WWII, with the canning industry development, black truffles processed and preserved, were well kept and would be exported outside the region or the Country. The increase of supply and demand represented the beginning of the end: from that moment on people would stop going to search for black truffles just for their dog’s training, they would instead start craving for getting big quantities of black truffle by any means necessary, legally or not.
Today, some people who called themselves “Tartufai” (truffle men), are eager to collect as many fresh truffles as they can, regardless of the search method and without caring for the preservation of the species.

Their purpose is to collect, or even purloin, whatever it takes, regardless of the disastrous consequences of their greed.

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Each Region applies laws to protect the species of truffle, making a specific calendar for the collection, but this one is different depending on the region, allowing the game of crafty ones and causing confusion among consumers.

Unfortunately, these characters, self-styled truffle hunters, start truffle hunting before the opening of the season, sometimes even without their dogs, they use a hoe and a pitchfork plundering the unripe truffles

black summer truffle

They are too ignorant to understand the damage they are provoking to the nature, destroying truffle’s nest that will not produce truffles anymore (truffle’s spores and seeds are left on the ground only when a truffle reaches his “sexual” maturity, that is when it starts to release the scent) and to the economy:  this truffle, stolen to the ground before its timing, is not good to be eaten.

I heard too many times people saying: “ black truffle is “disgusting”, “it has no taste”, and so on…
Of course, if those people tasted a truffle pulled out with a hoe, then I don’t blame them: they’re right!
They ate a low quality product, improperly used in catering, spoiling the “reputation” of minor truffles.

Let’s make an effort: educate yourself!
Make sure you are aware that until June, a black summer truffle does not have a great taste: it should remain underground and get dry with the sunshine. Do not buy it. Wait a bit, in this way you will catch and discover its fantastic taste at the right timing.

Alessandro Benvenuti

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If you want to receive other information or buy our black summer truffle or “Scorzone”, visit our shop.

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