From our producer who is a passionate truffle connoisseur we bring you the rarest Greek Black Summer Truffles (Tuber aestivum). Our Producer cultivates one of the most precious truffle varieties (t-melanosporum) in the mountains of Corinthia and travels all around Greece exploring wild truffle varieties. End result? Perfection!
Truffles are a relatively rare species of an underground mushroom that grows in the roots of some trees or bushes. Truffle is the generic name of all the underground fleshy mushrooms-fungi belonging to the family Tuberaceae and to the genera Tuber and Terfezia. Their size is approximately 2-7cm, their color varies from grey black to white ochre and they grow underground in a depth of 6-15 cm. Like all fungi they cannot compose the necessary substances to survive. In order to compensate this impossibility, they attach to some plants (trees or bushes), creating a relationship called “mycorrhizal symbiosis”, from which beneficiate both parties. The symbiosis takes place in ligneous and forage plants and mainly in some forest species like hornbeams, hazels, pines, poplars, oaks, willows and lime trees.
Truffles are known since ancient times. Many writers describe the interest that mankind has always shown for these fungi. Athenaeus dedicates an entire chapter to the truffles but other writers like Galenus, Dioscourides, Theophrastus, Plutarch, Pliny and Cicero mention these mushrooms in their works. Theophrastus says that truffles growing in Lesvos, Samos, Ileia and Thrace are known with different names. The first written report about truffles takes place during the 4th century B.C. During the classical period, Plutarch, Cicero and Dioscourides, trying to explain the strange presence of truffles on the roots of the trees, they thought they were the result of thunders reaching the earth. Anyhow, the truffles of ancients Greeks have no relation with the actual botanical species of the mushroom Hydnum of the Hydnaceae family, because the “hudnae” of our ancestors belong, as we previously said, to the genera Tuber and Terfezia of the Tuberaceae family, the exquisite mushrooms renown worldwide for their tastyfulness and their fine aroma. This is the reason why many writers and poets praised them in their works. Plinius, for instance, condideredtrufllesas “nature’s miracles”. Porfyrius usedto call them ‘’children of the Gods” , Cicero ‘’daughters of the earth’’ and Nero ‘’food of the Gods’’. Apicius and Juvenalis were celebrating the virtues of truffles and invented various culinary uses. Alexandre Dumas characterised them as “the holiest ingredients of the table” and the French used to call them “the black diamonds of the kitchen”. In Greece, truffles have always been highly praised as the old popular saying from the Pelopenese confirms: “Undigable, unplantable and noble cooking”.
In order to spot wild as well as cultivated truffles we must always be accompanied and guided by the specifically trained truffle dogs.
Dogs of different breeds can be used for this purpose. Of common use are Labrador Retrievers, Griffon Korthals, English Pointers and German shorthaired Pointers (Bracco Tedesco ή Kurzhaar), Lagotto Romagnolos, Epagneul Bretons, Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels.
Every breed has its specific characteristics and the best choice of a truffle dog shall be formed once all the requirements of the potential owner are pointed.
The purely hunting breeds tend to have a wide field of research, strongly developed sense of smell and are generally highly active. Retrievers tend not to move far from their owner while making an intense and detailed research. Epagneul Bretons and the Springer Spaniels are known for their great strength and stamina as well as their ability to retrieve. The Lagotto Romagnolo is a breed of characteristic obedience and capabilities, bred from Italians in order to detect truffles.
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