Of all the edible truffle species, the white Alba truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico) is by far the most esteemed and highly prized truffle; its intense aromas are appreciated all over the world and its prices can reach €4,000 per kg and more. The second most prized truffle is the black Norcia truffle (Tuber Melanosporum), followed by other varieties.

Table of contents

  • Ranking of the most prized truffles
  • Why the white Alba truffle is the most prized truffle
  • Why is the scorzone so high in the rankings?
  • Is the ordinary black truffle a bad truffle?


Ranking of the most prized truffles

Italy is the world's leading country for truffle in terms of both production and consumption. Nine edible truffle species are found throughout the Italian peninsula, each with its own peculiar characteristics. Without a shadow of a doubt, at the head we find the precious White Truffle, also called Alba Truffle or Acqualagna Truffle because of its massive appearance in this region. A rank below is the precious black truffle, or black truffle of Norcia, a truffle widely appreciated in the kitchen with a very wide circle of enthusiasts thanks to its unmistakable flavour.

From the third place onwards, it is very difficult to know for sure which truffle is considered the superior one, because several factors have to be taken into account, including:

  • average harvest quantities
  • the distinctiveness of the location of growth
  • the demand on the market
  • the average price

Of course, we should also provide a precise definition of 'prized' or 'precious', choosing whether to give more importance to the rarity of the species under examination or to favour the most harmonious balance of flavours, according to experts in the field. Additionally, we have to take into account the average price, which on its own is a good indicator and varies according to the above-mentioned factors.

A ranking that is too subjective? Definitely, yes; as we cannot count on reliable data (although we all agree 100% on the first two positions), we still have to try to draw up our own personal ranking of the most prized truffles!

  1. Precious White Truffle (tuber magnatum pico)
  2. Périgord or French Black Truffle (tuber melanosporum)
  3. Smooth Black Truffle(tuber macrosporum)
  4. Black Winter Truffle(tuber brumale)
  5. Black Summer Truffle(tuber aestivum)
  6. Bianchetto or Whitish Truffle(tuber Borchii)
  7. Moscato Truffle(tuber brumale var. moschatum)
  8. Black Hooked Truffle, Uncinato or Burgundy Truffle(tuber aestivum var. uncinatum)
  9. Ordinary Black Truffle(tuber mesentericum)

Why the White Alba Truffle is the most prized truffle

As you may have noticed, some of the truffles in the ranking (the muscat truffle and the hooked truffle, to be exact) are not species in their own right, but are actually variants of other species, with enough identifying characteristics to distinguish them in order of preference. However, we can certainly all agree on one thing: the white truffle is certainly the most highly prized and prestigious of them all.

But what makes the White Alba Truffle so much appreciated and sought after?

  • The precious white truffle is absolutely exquisite. Of course, such an intense flavour may not necessarily delight everyone, but truffle experts mostly do agree: the flavours and aromas of the White Alba Truffle are harmonically balanced and are capable of transforming even the most basic recipes into true culinary masterpieces.
  • The White Truffle is incredibly rare. We all already knew that, but to what extent? The Tuber Magnatum Pico only grows in extremely special geographical and climatic conditions, in marly and chalky sedimentary soils at an altitude of no more than 700 m above sea level, with good ventilation but also a good amount of moisture during the drier seasons.
  • Finding the truffle is no walk in the park. Like all hypogean mushrooms, the Prized White Truffle grows in the ground spontaneously, in mutual symbiosis with specific plants, such as various types of oak and poplar trees. The signs where it can be found are only recognisable to more experienced truffle hunters, and it is quite common for them to return home after a search with a rather poor harvest.
  • The White Truffle cannot be cultivated. Truffle cultivation is now an established practice, but some types of truffle are more difficult to cultivate; the Tuber Magnatum Pico is one of the worst-performing truffles in cultivation, and the possibilities of harvesting are almost limited to spontaneous growth. Needless to say, the quantity of truffles harvested, which largely depends on the weather conditions during the year, is not always abundant.

Why is the scorzone so high in the rankings?

The black summer truffle is a special kind of truffle. Although it is found in good quantities and is also one of the cheapest truffles in the world, the black summer truffle has our unconditional love: it is the only truffle to be found from May until September, and it accompanies us throughout the warmer months of the year. And there is more, because the black summer truffle is one of the most versatile truffles in the kitchen, it has a delicate flavour and can easily be used in cooking.

Thanks to these sensory characteristics, the Scorzone truffle is also appreciated for being the ideal truffle for those who want to try the pleasures of the tuber for the first time, as well as by all those who do not like overly intense flavours. We are convinced that it would be a poor year without the black summer truffle and that it definitely deserves some extra attention.

Is the ordinary black truffle a bad truffle?

Absolutely not! The ordinary black truffle is an outstanding truffle just waiting to be given a new value. In Campania, especially in the Irpinia area of Bagnoli (it is also commonly called the black truffle of Bagnoli), the ordinary black truffle is widely used in various dishes, while in the rest of Italy it is still not much used, mainly due to its intense phenolic odour and the simple but decisive fact that it shares the harvesting period with much more sought-after truffles.

Every truffle, of all the edible species, has its characteristics and strengths; none of them can be considered a bad truffle, and very often it becomes a highly subjective matter, especially when it comes to the less commercialised truffles.

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