Norcia's Prized Truffles
Sows were used in the past to sniff out truffles. Already in the 15th century Platina described them as being "admirable" in their ability to find the hidden mushroom.
The most commonly found truffle in the Valnerina area is the Tuber melanosporum, otherwise known as Tartufo Nero Pregiato di Norcia. The truffle gathering season runs from December 1st to March 15th. These truffles normally grow in upper hilly areas, near oaks, hornbeams, walnuts and ilexes, where it is also possible to find two other varieties of truffle: the Tuber aestivum, which normally grows near pines and is gathered from June 1st to August 31st, and the Tuber uncinatum, which is gathered from October 1st to December 31st.
Another form of truffle, known as the Bianchetto, or Marzuolo (Tuber albidum or Tuber borchii), grows in the valleys and has a peculiar garlicky flavour. This truffle can be gathered from January 15th to March 31st.
Lastly, the black winter truffles, or Tuber brunale, can be gathered from January 1st to March 15th, while the moscato truffles, or Tuber brumale moschatum, can be gathered from December 1st to March 15th.
Norcia is filled with shops selling the best local produce in this sector.
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