Also known as Tuber Aestivum var Uncinatum, the Burgundy truffle is harvested in autumn. This makes it possible to wait for the arrival of the beautiful Tuber Melanosporum at the end of the year.
The Tuber Uncinatum
Until the Renaissance, only Burgundy truffles were served on the table of the kings of France. The Tuber Melanosporum came later, during the reign of François the 1st.
The Burgundy truffle is to be distinguished from the Tuber Aestivum. The harvesting periods are different; the summer truffle arrives before the Burgundy truffle. Their external aspect and their flesh are also different: The flesh of the Tuber Uncinatum is darker than the one of the Tuber Aestivum.
A mature Burgundy truffle, Tuber Aestivum var Uncinatum is resolutely black on the outside. Its peridium, i.e. the skin, is warty while its gleba, the flesh, is light brown with more or less dense white veins. Its aroma is characterised by a note of sulphur and undergrowth. Its very subtle taste is reminiscent of hazelnut.
The gustatory intensity of these two varieties is very low, although the Burgundy truffle’s one is slightly more intense than that of the summer truffle: the latter is eaten at higher maturity.
In which region is the Burgundy truffle found?
Here again it is different from the summer truffle. The Tuber Uncinatum, fears the strong summer heat, that is why it grows in less hot areas, more in altitude. It is mainly cultivated in Italy, in Eastern countries and a small part of the total production is made in France.
It grows harmoniously with oak, hornbeam, hazelnut, cedar, pine and beech. A perfect symbiosis with these essences helps it to grow and develop its main organoleptic qualities. It is not very demanding in terms of soil, but still has a preference for well-drained alkaline soils with an exchangeable calcium content of around 10 to 15% and a high clay content. Ideally the soil will be fertile, silty and organic.
How are Burgundy truffles harvested?
Digging with the pig is an ancestral practice. Nowadays truffle growers specially train dogs to recognize the scent of the truffle.
Another technique to detect the truffle: the branded technique. Truffle growers have the possibility of spotting surface truffles by simply scanning the ground. Usually, a mushroom hide under a soil that looks burnt and on which no vegetation is growing. Protrusions or cracking of the soil are also clues that indicate the presence of a truffle.
The Burgundy truffle season
The harvest of the Burgundy truffle generally extends from mid-September to the end of December, a period during which it is very fresh and mature.
A quality truffle is very firm, with the flesh evenly marbled. The buyer can be sure of this by considering the canified part. Finally, its perfume must be frank, without any suspicious smell.
The Burgundy truffle in the kitchen
A truffle with subtle flavours
The flavors of the Tuber Aestivum var Uncinatum, are very subtle. Its taste is rather light, even if a little more pronounced than that of the summer truffle. In general, because of its fleeting and volatile aroma, it should be consumed quickly after being harvested.
It is therefore recommended to consume the Burgundy truffle, raw or with very light cooking.
The truffle omelet is a great classic appreciated by gourmets. Here, simple eggs and a truffle can create a delicious dish. Simply sprinkle the omelets with truffle shavings while it is still drooling, fold it and enjoy immediately.
Burgundy truffle is also the ingredient of choice to revisit or to bring originality to classic recipes such as gratin dauphinois.
Finally, the Burgundy truffle will be ideally accompanied by a red Burgundy wine whose bouquet will be closest to its aroma.