There is gold, and there is truffle gold. These truffles are found beneath the roots of oak trees and the red color a likely pigment. Their irregular shape is said to be due to “al baticheur ëd le piante che a stan për andurmisse”, translated as ‘to the heart-beating of the plants about to fall asleep’.
The truffle is a hypogeous fungus whose root system is a long, thick and ramified tangle of whitish filaments (hyphae). The fruit is shaped like a tuber. It is a pulpy mass, called gleba, coated with a sort of rind, called peridium. The colour and the aspect of the gleba and peridium allow us to easily identify the different species of truffle. The truffle is mainly made up of a high percentage of water and mineral salts that it absorbs from the soil by means of the root system of a nearby tree with which it lives in symbiosis.
The white Alba truffle gets a different color according to the kind of tree it lives and grows with. So its color varies from white sometimes with pink veins to grey verging on brown. The mycelium finds the right conditions to produce the truffle mainly about the roots of a few plants like the poplar, lime, oak, willow, and in the opinion of some people even the vine.
After being formed the truffle becomes a real parasite. It sucks up the sap that the roots of the symbiont plant absorb from the soil, so it gets its own smell, taste, and color. The truffle with the most intense smell and longest life is the one that grows near an oak tree; on the contrary, if it grows near a lime tree it has a lighter color and a more aromatic smell.