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The summer truffle (Tuber aestivum Vitt.) has a rounded and particularly thick skin, meaning that it can be easily distinguished from the black Périgord truffle at first glance. It can reach up to around 10 cm in diameter and is also easy to identify thanks to a small cavity at its base, which is flatter than the rest of it. The colour of its skin ranges from very dark brown to deep black. It is globular in shape, with small pyramidal shaped warts.
Its flesh varies in colour from white to ochre and hazel, depending on its ripeness and its area of origin. Truffle hunters seek out the much-appreciated summer truffle from 15 May to 31 August. Unlike other types of truffle, it does not release its aroma immediately. Indeed, a few minutes are needed to fully appreciate its characteristic scent with its subtle fruity notes. It can frequently be found on the surface of the ground and is not predominantly subterranean. It often grows beneath beech and birch trees, as well beneath conifers such as pines and firs.
It grows mainly in conifer woods, at quite high altitudes varying between 1000 and 1400 metres above sea level. Despite its comparatively low cost (compared to other more highly-prized truffle varieties), it is an exquisite accompaniment to meats and rich salads, adding a real touch of sophistication to the menu. Its subtle aroma also recalls the porcini mushroom. Chefs normally use it to add a special touch to traditional Italian dishes, enhancing their aroma.
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