The black truffle belongs to the family of ascomycetes (microscopic fungi) which are found all over the world and mostly in warm, moist environments such as those of forests, sub-tropical regions, and moist swamps. Truffles come in different shapes, colors, and sizes and are usually used in baking recipes. Some of them even resemble hazelnuts.
Ascomycetes fungi belong to a number of families and genera. Among these is a subspecies of Tuberculinum (which is also referred to as 'black truffle salt') which is native to France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Russia. Subspecies of Tuberculinum is also found in New Zealand and is often referred to as the "black Tuber". Another ascomycete genus, Geoporus, is native to the Mediterranean region and other parts of Asia. Subspecies of Tuberculinum is also found in China. Other ascomycetes found in Asia include Tinospora, Rhizome, Chlorophyllum, and Penicillium.
Ascomycetes Fungi is also found on the roots and stems of plants. A few of these species are considered to be "truffle-worthy" (as opposed to being a substitute for real truffles).
There are several kinds of ascomycetous fungi that make good substitutes for truffle salt, however, such as white truffles and black truffles, both of which are not black, though the appearance can be similar in some cases. White truffles include the Tuberculinum species, as well as the genera Geoporus and Peziza.
Black truffles include the Geoporus species and the genera Leucativa, Geotrichum, and Leuconotrichum. These fungi can be found growing in soils that are relatively moist but dry, in moist forests and swamps, and marshes where they grow and reproduce.
Ascomycetes fungi are not only found in salt; they are also found on wood and bones. One such type is the Geocarpus, found growing on oak, birch, red maple, cherry, ash, and pine, and other hardwoods.
Geocarpus Aspera is a type of Ascomyco Sensualis that grows in the Aspera species. It is a member of one of several genera in the Ascomycotina family. Geocarpus sensualis is used as a natural antiseptic, an antibacterial, and a fungicide, making it a popular choice of natural medicine.
Black truffles come from other sources, too. Some are harvested from dried mushrooms, and the outer bark of some varieties of Aspergillus, particularly Trichoderma sakazukiensis, a form of the fungi found in Japan. Some of them can also be extracted from wood chips and wood shavings. Most of them, though, come from the fungi that grow in the earth, such as the Geoporus species that is found in the soil, in decaying wood, or in the root systems of trees.
The Ascomycetes Fungi comes from different countries, and so does all truffles. They are very easy to obtain, and as long as you know where to look and how to use them, they are available almost anywhere in the world.
Ascomycetes fungi grow best in warm, dark, moist environments, and they can be grown in different ways, depending on the type of fungus. They can be made into puddings by soaking them in wine for a day or two, then placing them on a dish of coals or other heat source and leaving them to burn for several hours.
Ascomycetes can also be used as an ingredient in cooking. Many recipes call for them, such as the Parmesan or Gruyere truffles that Italian and French cooks use. They have the quality of melting in the mouth, although they may not taste good to people who have a high tolerance for salt.
Other recipes make use of the ascomycetes by themselves, such as making a paste of ascomycetes and salt called a "salad dressing". This is used to add taste and color to sandwiches, pasta dishes, or even to cook pasta dishes that have had their liquid drained. Ascii cheese, a type of cheese that is made in Southern Italy, contains these fungi, and they can be used in salads, pasta sauces, or desserts.
In fact, Ascomycetes is a common ingredient in many recipes, including Italian recipes that call for Parmesan. Parmesan has been described as a "cheese made from ascomycetes".