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What Is a Truffle?

Albertina Roca
  |   June 30, 2016   |  

Truffles are exotic, prized and coveted, synonymous with luxury and fine dining, but it’s the very few and in the know who can answer the question: what is a truffle?

A truffle is, in the simplest terms, a fungus or mushroom of the genus Tuber. It grows underground, typically near or right beneath the roots of trees, particularly oak, beech, birch, poplars and pine trees. They form a symbiotic relationship – meaning the tree and the truffles both get something out of the relationship, sugars and nutrients.

Intensely aromatic, truffles add a unique and unmatched aroma and flavor to a dish, which is why they’re so coveted in cooking. The most prized truffles, the Tuber melanosporum or the winter black truffle, and the tuber magnatum or the white truffle from Alba, are found in France and Italy. The coveted Italian winter white truffle grows only in the Alba and Piedmont regions, while the black truffle is found both in France (near Perigord, which is why the black truffle is also known as the Perigord truffle) and Italy, but also across Western Europe. The winter variety of all truffles are the most intense, while the summer truffle, a different species altogether, is milder with a lesser aroma.

Truffles are also found in Australia, and South America, where they’ve been successfully cultivated and harvested. Truffle cultivation is rare, but not impossible.

Truffles are “hunted” with specially trained dogs, which have supplanted the truffle pigs of yore (one of the reasons being that pigs love their truffles a bit too much, and tend to eat them before they can be grabbed). Because the mushrooms grow so deep in the ground, almost a foot sometimes, they’re incredibly hard to find, and it’s only thanks to the very sensitive noses of these animals that they’re found at all. Truffles tend to grow always in the same spots, which are fiercely guarded by the truffle hunters.

Now that you know what is a truffle, learn more about truffles using our Truffle Resources section found on the left-hand site navigation, or search our truffle recipes or buy a fresh truffle today.

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Albertina Roca

Copywriter & Certified Cheese Addict

Meet Albertina, a seasoned food writing wordsmith and marketing creative split between the sizzling vibes of Miami and the charming streets of Buenos Aires. With a solid 20 years in the traditional and digital advertising world for the gourmet food industry, she’s mastered the art of making words as mouthwatering as the dishes they describe. She’s proudly been part of the Gourmet Food Store family (and its brands) since its very beginnings, and what a fun, flavor-packed journey it has been!


Albertina's journey in copywriting is marked by a passion for creativity and a knack for connecting with audiences. Her expertise spans SEO-driven content that boosts visibility, engaging social media strategies that spark conversations, persuasive advertising campaigns that captivate, and heartfelt storytelling that resonates deeply.


With a diverse portfolio spanning numerous articles, blogs, and captivating content pieces, Albertina has left her mark on the industry. From informative guides to persuasive sales copy, her work not only informs but also inspires action.

Education and Background

Her journey began at Rutgers College, where she studied in History and Political Science, with a minor in English Lit. She honed her craft at The Miami Ad School in South Beach, where creativity and copy collided under the South Florida Sun. From the neon streets of South Beach to the tango beats of Buenos Aires, her pen dances with the rhythm of whatever gastronomic tales she gets to write at the time.

Currently savoring life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she’s bilingual in English and Spanish, an avid reader, and cheese addict.

Her writing? Seasoned with creativity, spiced with experience, and garnished with a dash of wit.

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