If truffles they are not specifically described as the more precious white truffle, these will almost invariably be the dark, gnarled black truffle – not so great as the spectacular white, but not to be sneezed at either. This is one of the great culinary delights. Winter or black truffles, dark and pungent, are more commonly found than the famous white truffles of Piedmont. In Italy the best are found in Norcia and Umbria, in France in Périgueux. They are also found in Spain and, believe it or not, in certain places in the United Kingdom, where historically they were overlooked. The summer truffle is a more mediocre variety.
I must see if Simon Hopkinson has written about them, for he is the man to catch this earthy, farm-yardy, grubby smell which scents eggs, deepens a pasta dish, enriches everything it touches. So many of these wonderful, really seasonal foods, like proper strawberries or new potatoes, Seville oranges, have a particular magic, but there is nothing quite like a bit of freshly grated white truffle on your risotto.