The white truffle of March
The woods surrounding San Miniato are one of the most important truffle areas in Tuscany
White truffle aside, due to a happy combination of vegetation and geological substrate, there are interesting varieties of truffles that can be found in San Miniato. The Bianchetto truffle (Tuber Borchii or Tuber Albidum Pico) is a cousin of the White Truffle King. You might find it labelled as “white-ish truffle” because its appearance is similiar to the autumn white, but it has a completely different taste.
The scientific name refers to Count De Borch, a Polish scholar and biologist who was the first to study its botanical characteristics. A life long research led him to be the first to state that truffles are mushrooms, and not tubers as it was believed until then. In Italian language, it often answers to Marzuolo Truffle, a friendly denomination deriving from the month for its collection: the month of March, “Marzo”.
The spring season
In San Miniato, this product of the earth has traditionally been celebrated in Cigoli for 23 years with the Marzuolo Truffle Market Exhibition, organized by the Giuseppe Gori association in the ARCI club. Starting from this year there will also be a new event in the village of Corazzano: two days of dinners and lunches with a one of a kind menu starring the withish truffle. The season will be open with a special inauguration date, on Sunday the 5th during the regular Flea Market the city center of San Miniato will host cooking shows, sensory analysis, truffle hunt demonstration in the scenic court in San Domenico Church.
- WHERE AND WHEN:
In Tuscany, the whitish truffle develops in the coastal area of Pisa territory, but it can also be found in the hinterland areas where the white truffle grows. The ideal environment for the Marzuolo truffle is a pine wood, but it can also be found along the banks of watercourses or ditches populated by willows and poplars, as well as in avenues lined with lime trees. The ideal soil must be sandy or composed by very fine organic material. Even calcareous and clayey soils are much suitable for its growth.
- HOW IT APPEARS:
The Marzuolo truffle is characterized by a whitish rind and a brownish, almost purplish pulp. Its aroma is penetrating and persistent, a little garlicky and spicy but still very pleasant. Its dimensions are generally very small and often do not exceed that of an egg. Its shape depends on the nature of the ground: if the ground is soft then it will grow rounded; on the contrary, if it is compact, the mushroom will have to struggle to make room for itslef, and will become lumpy and gnarled. It can weigh from 30 to 200 grams.
- TRUFFLE HUNTER:
For truffle hunters it is a very interesting mushroom, because it is the first one to turn to for training dogs, because the withish truffle grow in large groups and close to the surface. The truffle dog’s cub begin their training and play with this spring whitish truflle.