3 minutes read
A truffle is a fruiting body (like a mushroom) that grows underground. The fungus bacteria transfer itself via the air in the form of spores, & lands on well-drained chalk & clay rich soil where it makes it way to the roots of the tree. There it settles on the root as it needs the sugars from the root to grow. On the other hand, the bacteria helps the tree to get their minerals to grow. Result is great teamwork to create this delicacy that’s often called the ‘’Diamond of the Culinary World’’.
Truffles are classified on their appearance, smell, taste & origin. A truffle its value depends on their rarity & specific aromas, with the rarest as the most expensive food in the world.
The black truffles or black Périgord truffles, are named after the French region Périgord in the South-West where they grow together with oak & hazelnut trees. It has a black/brown skin with white veins running through, & recognizable for its destinct fruity & aromatic smell. Harvest is done in the late autumn & early winter.
The white truffle or Trifola d'Alba Madonna (Truffle of the White Mother) can mainly be found in, you guess, Italy. From Piedmont down to Tuscany to be precise. The truffles grow together with oak, hazel, poplar & beech trees. They’re creamy or brown with white of colour, have an intense & strong smell. Italian white truffles are harvested in the autumn & are counted as the most valuable on the market.
White truffles can also be found in the surrounding countries France, Slovenia & Croatia, where in the latter one of the largest truffles in the world has been found, weighing around 1.3kg. Furthermore, you can also found truffle areas in the USA, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia & China.
When it’s harvest season the female pigs, well trained hogs & dogs come out to play. They literally have the ‘’nose’’ to find the strong aromas from the truffles, which are roughly buried 30cm underground. Once they found one, the farmer needs to be quick, as the animal is keen on eating it.
Truffles are usually served raw, shaved over pasta, salads or other dishes. The flavour of black truffles is far more refined than the white, as that might be the reason you see more black truffles than white in restaurants.
Next time you can get your hands on one, smell it & see if you like it!