The correct botanical denomination of the "Périgord Truffle" is Tuber Melanosporum Vit.. It is also known by the name of "black truffle" or "french black truffle". However, those names are not appropriate as the name "black truffle" is often used in combination with other truffles as well and therefore highly misleading. The fruiting body of the Périgord truffle grows between April and June reaching maturity between November and February. The black-brown skin (called "Pyridium") consists of many small pyramidal cusps - around 1mm high. During maturation the color of the skin changes from red-brown to black once it is fully mature. Their flesh (around September) is white, then gray and becomes anthracite starting from mid November. Later in the season, it even becomes slightly blue. The flesh is permeated by characteristic white veins which turn brown with age. These veins belong to the mycelium.
The full maturity is reached around mid december. The harvest is done until march. A real mature Périgord truffle as big as a nut might have such a intense aroma, that it can be smelled throughout the apartment. The odor might still be discernable days later. But it is important to keep the truffles in a refrigerator at all times in order to avoid to be drying-out and therefore loosing its aroma.
A Périgord truffle can be found in many different sizes - not bigger than a pea to the size of a pineapple reaching a weight of more than 500gr. In the department of Dordogne in France, a truffle of 1 kg has been found. In Italy, the french black truffle can be found in the regions of Umbria, Marche, Toscana, Liguria, Tentino, Venetia and Piemont. It is also harvested in Croatia.
In Spain it can be found in natural truffle groves in the region between Taragona, Madrin an Valencia. Also to the west of Barcelona and in the region of Soria. Even in the basque country truffle groves have been created - some reaching a size of 600 ha.
But according to french countrymen, only truffles from Périgord and the Provence have the best quality and aroma.
France consumes around 100 to 150 tonnes of Périgord-Truffles per year. Only 50-80 tonnes are harvested in France, the rest imported from Italy, Spain or Croatia.
Spores in a mesh: Summer-Truffle (Tuber aestivum)
Spores prickly: Musky Truffle (Tuber brumale)