In Honor of National Truffle Fest . . . a Truffle Overview!

  • Crotia, Italy, Spain and France are primary European locations for truffle hunters

    Croatia just One of Several Locales where Truffles Grow

    A fungus which grows underground and is prized for its aromatic qualities and taste, the truffle grows in shady soil at the base of hazelnut, elm, oak and poplar trees.  Professional hunters use highly-trained dogs or pigs to sniff out and dig up these culinary treasures.  Italy and France are known for truffles, but these prizes are also available in Spain, Croatia, Sweden, the UK, the US, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania.

    Photo courtesy of zhaffsky

  • An Italian truffle

    One of the World's Most Expensive Foods: The Truffle

    Truffles vie with saffron as the most expensive food in the world.  Aromatic winter black truffles are also called “Périgord" or “The Black Diamond of Provence.” They're typically harvested from November to March, peaking in January and February.  There are also summer blacks, winter whites and summer whites. 

    Photo courtesy of picdrops

  • Truffles are bought and sold by weight

    Truffles are Sold by the Pound

    Truffles are sold by weight.  Their enormous price is reflective of the expertise required in finding them, as well as the difficulty of the task.   Winter black truffles can cost anywhere from $700-$3000 per pound.

    Photo courtesy of heatheronhertravels

  • Chocolate truffles are shaped like the truffles found by pigs

    Chocolate Truffles - A Similar Look, a Shared Name . . . and a surprising bond

    Chocolate truffles are a popular sweet treat which share their shape with the truffle found underground.  The taste of the pungent black winter truffle was once described as a mix of 'chocolate and earth.'  Its smell . . . far less appealing to many.  Veer away from chocolate and into fungus and see if your own palate says yea or nay. 

    Photo courtesy of JuditK

  • This black truffle is kept under glass

    Truffles are Kept Under Glass to keep Moisture Out

    It's critical to store truffles correctly. Their aroma can quickly take over a refrigerator, and moisture is the enemy.  Do NOT clean your truffles until you're ready to cook with them.  Wrap in an absorbent cloth, and store in your vegetable drawer or the back of the fridge.  Another option:  a glass jar, or a jar filled with rice, to keep your truffles dry, and to abosrb moisture (the rice will make a killer risotto later).  

    Photo courtesy of avlxyz

  • A secondary product of truffles is truffle oil, a more affordable cooking luxury

    Truffle Oil is also Used to Enhance Dishes

    A chef's favorite - truffle oil - can be extracted from the tartuffo (Italian for truffle).

    Photo courtesy of avlxyz

  • Truffles are used to create many products, including truffle salt

    Truffle Salt adds Zest to Pizza

    Another product derived from truffles is truffle salt, which can be used to enhance many a dish.

    Photo courtesy of trec_lit

  • Truffles can be used in many types of cuisines and for different meals

    A beautiful Gourmet Dish, using Truffles and Japanese Flan

    Japanese flan (chawanmushi) of truffled eggs, with shitake, chanterelle gris, pleurote, and enoki mushrooms. Topped with scallions, baby shiso, a bit more enoki, and fresh black truffle. 

    Photo courtesy of tavallai

  • Truffles are often shaved onto dishes, and thus used sparingly

    Truffle Shavings on Pasta

    Typically, truffle shavings are used sparingly, not just because of their powerful flavor, but also their expense.

    Photo courtesy of heatheronhertravels