Species of the month
Black Périgord Truffle
Some facts on this fungus:
Weight: 10 to 100 grams.
Range: Mainly southern Europe.
Habitat: Well drained, aerated calcareous soils with high porosity.
Price: $1000 per kilo.
Main producing countries: France 45%, Spain 35% and Italy 20%.
Annual production: 20 metric tonnes per year.
First described: By the Italian doctor and mycologist Carlo Vittadini in 1831.
Tuber melanosporum looks like an heap of mud, yet it's one of the most expensive foodstuffs. It is a highly appreciated delicacy which many wealthy gastronomes consider the king of all fungi. The truffles are shaved sparingly over the dish to add a savory flavor. Truffles are the fruiting bodies of fungi that typically form in a symbiotic relationship on the roots of truffle oaks, often less than 30 cm below the surface. It is almost impossible to cultivate truffles which grow randomly in certain regions. Since the elusive tubers cannot be seen, specially trained sows and dogs are employed to find them. The black truffle belongs to the Tuberaceae family of fungi whose ascocarps (fruiting bodies) resemble tubers and vary in size from that of an acorn to that of a large apple.
(Archived from Template:Species of the week)