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What you should know about tuber brumale and tuber melanosporum.

This season, tuber brumale (t. brumale) has made a significant entry into early season truffles sales alongside the more desirable tuber melanosporum (t. melanosporum). Both are winter truffle and in Europe they grow natively in the same area and are often found in the same batch when sourced from the wild. Confusion arises here in Australia, not only because they are similar in appearance but because of the way we have tended to name our truffles. In this post we will provide you the information you will need to confidently tell the difference so you come home with what you paid for.


Tuber brumale showing the inside and outside of the truffle
Tuber brumale
Cut truffle showing the inside gleba of the truffle
Tuber melanosporum

The naming conventions of Australia grown truffles has not helped the confusion between tuber melanosporum and tuber brumale.

First things first, let's define the terms. Because the Australian truffle industry started with a clean slate, we chose to only cultivate the most highly regarded t. melanosporum, and as far as possible keep t. brumale out. From the beginning, we therefore referred to t. melanosporum grown here as 'French Perigord truffle'. At the time and because the aim was to keep t. brumale out of Australia there was no need to find a common name for t. brumale. In Europe however, t. brumale is commonly referred to as the Black Winter truffle. Confused, well wait it gets worse. Recently, because we are negotiating a free trade agreement with Europe which has its regional naming conventions, we have moved to calling t. melanosporum the Australian Black Winter truffle, or the Aussie Black truffle though some do also refer to it as the Black Winter truffle. The question is, now that t. brumale seems to have become a feature of our truffle scene, what should we be calling it? Perhaps we should just keep referring to it as brumale or t. brumale!



How to tell the difference between tuber melanosporum and tuber brumale.



The peridium (bumpy skin)

On first examination, the peridium or skin of both truffles is very similar in appearance though the warts on the t. brumale do tend to be marginally smaller than the t. melanosporum. On examining the skin, if you lightly scratch both there are differences that can be observed which assist to tell them apart. Using your fingernail to lightly scratch the skin it is notable that on t. brumale that the skin comes away from the truffle fairly easily compared to the t. melanosporum. Also, if you notice the scratched peridium, the colour of the scratched area on the t. brumale is blueish or violet while the t. melanosporum has a reddish hue.


The gleba (inner flesh)

The difference between the flesh of these two truffles is considerable and therefore a good way to tell them apart. On a mature t. brumale the flesh is very dark blue with white veins. A mature t. melanosporum tends to have a a grayish-black flesh with white veins that are much closer together and finer in nature.


Aroma

Another good way to separate these two truffles is their aroma. The aroma of the brumale is by no means appealing, most describe it as having a very intense musk or even diesel like aroma. The aroma of the melanosporum on the other hand is strong but very appealing.


Price

The brumale, in Europe, is around a third of the price of the melanosporum.


There you go.


I hope you found the information above useful. Give us a like if you did, share it with your friends if you think they may like to know about brumale and melanosporum and their differences.


Ciao for now.


Carmine


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