The Black Truffle or Black Périgord Truffle (Tuber melanosporum), the second-most commercially valuable truffle species (after the Italian White Truffle; Tuber magnatum). The species is named after the Périgord region but is not an Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP). Other truffles found in the area are the Summer Truffle (Tuber aestivum) and the Winter Truffle (Tuber brumale), whose 'vein-markings' are more pronounced resulting in a lighter color. Black and Winter Truffles are harvested in late autumn and winter. The Summer Truffle throughout the summer.
Unlike often thought, the natural habitat of the truffle is not the forest. They prefer well drained calcium rich soils, under 'parc' landscapes (grasslands with spread-out trees) that are the result of grazing (like those traditionally found in the causses). The mycelia of truffles form symbiotic (mycorrhizal) relationships with the roots of several tree species including oak, hazel, beech and cedar. Black truffles suppress the growth of plants around their host, creating the impression of a burnt (brûlé) area around it. The truffle thus help the host tree to absorb nutrients from the soil, and helps reduce competition for water.
Winter is also the season for the truffle markets. Largest market is the one in Périgueux, and smaller local markets are organized in Terrasson and Saint Geniès. First week of February is also the time the village of Chartrier-Ferrière, in the Corrèze on the border with the Périgord (Dordogne). This is also the watershed between the Causse Corrèzien and the Causse de Terrasson, with truffle producers from both sides submitting their harvest to be judged. A little folklore, a little drink, a tombola, the market, a sense of community.
No public gatherings this year, so last year’s pictures, looking forward to next year!
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