Wandering in Langa

The black summer truffle: rough diamond from Langhe

June 20, 2024

Those of us from these areas have heard so many stories about truffles.

Midnight walkers, covered with dirt and badly dressed, wandering in darkness accompanied by their only faithful companion, the ‘tabui’ (piedmontese word for dog).

A silent search, hidden, treasure hunt where luck is convenient but what helps the most are the years of experience, the lessons handed down from generation to generation and much, much knowledge of the territory.

And it is precisely those same men, the trifulau, who a few hours later with eyes swollen by insomnia struggle against time to sell the rough diamonds of the earth.

Truffle varieties

The area of Alba, but more generally the woods of Piedmont, are known for the white truffle in particular, renowned and expensive, and also for the precious black, called Norcia truffle.

These are the favorites of most, but there are many other edible varieties, diversified according to seasonality, habitat, and size.

And so here is an entire harvest calendar, with the Uncinato truffle in the fall, the Bianchetto in the winter, and the delicate black summer truffle in the months of May through September.

Scorzone, the black summer truffle

In this sizzling period in which the night attracts even the most unlikely nighthawks, one can often meet the trifulau parked with their four-wheel Pandas on the roadsides.

And probably many people have asked themselves, what is it that they collect in the middle of summer?

Because despite the fact that it is a variety of truffle that is more than found in our hills, and despite the fact that it is excellent value for money compared to the most prized ones, few people know about the Scorzone, scientifically called Tuber aestivum Vittad. Where Vittad. stands for Carlo Vittadini (Italian botanist and mycologist who distinguished the variety), also called black summer truffle for obvious reasons.

The name, which originated with derogatory meaning, is linked to the blackish-brown peridium (the outer part) covered with pyramidal warts that characterizes it, making it more difficult to clean than other varieties.

However, it is a truffle that is resistant to factors usually crucial for black and white: drought does not challenge it, it withstands all kinds of soil and gives its best after cooking, making it the most suitable for many dishes.

How do you recognize it?

Except, of course, for the time of year when it can be harvested(June 1 to August 31), which leaves little room for doubt, there are several obvious criteria for distinguishing a Scorzone from any other variety.

The matured surface (peridium) has a dark color tending to black, and is similar to the skin of an alligator, composed of small diamond-shaped protrusions.

The flesh (gleba) varies in color from yellowish to more or less intense hazelnut, with highly branched whitish veins that do not change color when exposed to air.

It vegetates in extremely varied soil types, whether sandy and friable or clayey and compact, and enters into symbiosis with a large number of plant species, but especially with oaks and hornbeams.

black truffle - events

Kitchen use

It has a more delicate flavour than the winter ones.

No one forbids shaving it fresh as a finishing element on dishes, but given its excellent resistance to cooking, it is more suited for sauces.

The volatile compounds that give life to the characteristic scent bond with fats, so it is often also associated with rich foods like meat, cheese and eggs.

Its rich woody aroma, reminiscent of garlic, wild mushrooms and hazelnuts, goes very well with lobster, caviar, foie gras, shallots, citrus and aromatic herbs such as tarragon, basil and rocket (rucula).

It can retain its properties for up to a week if properly stored: dry, wrapped in paper towels or white rice and conserved in the fridge.


Because of the rough, warty surface, cleaning the black summer truffle is not the easiest, but given the lower value on finances one can take a few extra liberties to speed up the process.

One must first arm oneself with a soft-bristled brush (failing that, a toothbrush) and a knife with a rounded tip.

To remove soil residue, you can also use a trickle of cold water to rub it off more easily, but always gently so as not to ruin the surface.

Buy fresh truffle

It is extremely difficult to buy fresh truffles on the Internet, given the short shelf life and the ease with which they lose their organoleptic characteristics.

With us, not only can you buy them directly from the trifulau, who notifies us of availability based on the harvest, but you receive them at home in 2 to 3 workingdays.

Fresh truffles are shipped by express courier, in special packaging that guarantees integrity and freshness until delivery.

For reasons of proper product storage, shipments are made on the following days of the week: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Have we intrigued you and do you want to try the black summer truffle? Purchase it here!