The Winter or 'Périgord' black truffle is native to the Mediterranean regions of France, Italy, parts of Croatia, Serbia, and the greater parts of northern Spain. They are found at 250m-1000m above sea level and the season runs from early December to March, provided that the regions receive a good downpour in July and August to encourage the infant truffles to swell.
When lifted from the earth black truffles look like a lump of charcoal. The size varies from as small as a raisin to as big as an orange, although even larger specimens emerge. The skin is ink black with a reddish tinge (though this can indicate a lack of ripeness). The surface when washed is made up of tiny pyramids likened to diamonds fresh from the cutter. The inside is a deep chocolate colour, veined with tightly packed, caramel-coloured spore material that is as smooth as silk.
In the European Summer Months, Black Truffles are available from Chile and Australia and are every bit as good as their European counterparts. The Precious Black Truffle must be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator, wrapped individually in an absorbent paper, making sure that it always remains dry. The fresh truffle can also be wrapped in paper towels and closed in a glass container, always in the refrigerator. This method allows the preservation of the precious black truffle for about fifteen days.
FINE & WILD - UK Suppliers of Fresh Black Truffles