A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean mushroom; spore dispersal is accomplished through fungivores, animals that eat fungi. Almost all truffles are ectomycorrhizal and are therefore usually found in close association with trees.
There are hundreds of species of truffles, but the fruiting body of some (mostly in the genus Tuber) are highly prized as a food: Brillat- Savarin called them "the diamond of the kitchen". Edible truffles are held in high esteem in French, Spanish, northern Italian and Greek cooking, as well as in international haute cuisine.
The origin of the word truffle appears to be the Latin term tuber, meaning "swelling" or "lump", which became tufer- and gave rise to the various European terms: French truffe, Spanish trufa, Danish Trøffel, German Trüffel, Swedish tryffel, Dutch truffel, Polish trufel,