White truffle is one of the most expensive types of truffle, and much sought after for its unique flavour. The flesh is pale cream or brown with white marbling, and this species only grows in certain parts of southern Europe.
White truffle is strongly associated with Italy, but can also be found growing in certain adjacent regions, including the Balkans and south-eastern France. In Italy, this truffle is known as Trifola d’Alba Madonna which means Truffle of the White Madonna.
The epicentre of the white truffle trade is the aptly named town Alba in Piedmont, northern Italy, where the peak season for buying truffle is October and November, and truffle affecionados flock to attend the annual Fiera del Tratufo (Truffle Fair).
The scientific name of this species is Tuber magnatum.
A few examples of expensive specimens
- A 1.89 kilogram white truffle was unearthed in Umbria in December 2014. Instead of being sold for a fixed price, it was handed over to Sotheby´s in New York City who auctioned it off. The winner of the auction was a Taiwanese buyer who paid 61,000 USD for the truffle.
- Interestingly, the most expensive single white truffles actually wieghed less than the one sold in New York. In December 2007, Macau casino owner Stanley Ho bought a 1.5 kilogram white truffle for 330,000 USD. This truffle had been found near Pisa in Italy, and was sold at an auction with bidders attending from Macau, Hong Kong and Florence simultaneously. In November 2010, Stanley Ho once again spent 330,000 USD on white truffle. This time, he bought two truffles and one of them weighed nearly one kilogram.
Where does the white truffle grow?
The white truffle forms symbiotic relationships with hazel, oak, beech and poplar and are therefore more likelty to be found in areas where one or more of these trees are growing.
As mentioned above, it is strongly associated with Italy, but also found in certain adjacent regions of Southern Europe.
White truffle in Italy
The main areas for white truffle searching in Italy are found in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, especially in Langhe and Montferrat, and the countryside around the towns Alba and Asti are famous for its white truffle.
Another hot-spot for white truffle is Acqualagna, a municipality in the Province of Pesaro e Urbino in the Italian region Marche. Each year, a white truffle festival is held here.
If we countinue south, we find white truffle locations in Molise and Abruzzo, and white truffle is also unearthed on a commercial scale in the hills around San Miniato in Tuscany.
White truffle in Bosnia and Herzegovina
In recent years, searching for white truffle has gained traction in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in the regions Vlašić, Lisina and Kozara. White truffle has aslo been discovered growing around Služanj and Čitluk in the western part of Herzegovina.
White truffle in Croatia
In Croatia, white truffle is known to grow along the River Mirna in the Motovun forest.
White truffle in Slovenia
In Slovenia, white truffle grows along the rivers Dragonja and Rizana.
White truffle in France
White truffle is fairly frequently found in the Drome area of south-eastern France.