The Black Winter Truffle (Tuber Melanosporum) is the best-known and most sought-after of the black truffles. It is also known as the Norcia truffle in Italy, but it is not found exclusively in this area of Umbria and grows across the Apennines. It is also called the Périgord truffle or French black truffle. It is highly appreciated in traditional French cuisine.
It is generally harvested in winter, between November and March. It has a black-brown peridium, with small pyramidal warts.
The gleba is black-brown, with violet or red hues. It has tight, slender, whitish veins, which turn red on exposure to air and black with cooking.
It has a characteristic aroma that is intensified by light cooking, which is reminiscent of dark chocolate, or brandy at times.
It does not suffer from cooking – indeed, its characteristic aroma is brought out by being lightly warmed.
It is a versatile truffle which can also be ground and added to creamed artichokes or olives, to dress up any preparation, from appetisers to main courses.