Truffle is a fungus of the Tuber genus species normally growing near roots of certain trees, on the trees’ bark, and the ground. In all its 86 species, approximately 10 are incorporated in some Asian, Italian, French, Croatian, Greek, Georgian, Spanish, and Middle Eastern cooking. They resemble skinned potatoes but with a firm spongy texture and possess a sweet earthly smell. It is sometimes compared to and confused with wild mushrooms. However, truffle are much richer in nutrients and have a spectacular flavor different from mushrooms.
In the kitchen
Truffles are considered one the most sought-after culinary due to their unique aroma, taste, and rarity. In other places, they are dubbed the kitchen diamond and are widely used in exotic Mediterranean dishes and some Italian pasta or Pizza. Its exceptional taste is perfectly used with appetizers such as aioli or garnish French fries. Many chefs worldwide would kill to have truffles in their kitchens as it makes their menu stand out to attract the lover of mushrooms and luxurious food enthusiasts. Since they are rare and nutritious, foods having truffles are very costly depending on the species, where it is grown, and the season it is harvested in the year.
Can truffles be grown and harvest?
That can seem a very lucrative farming business if you consider their price in the market. Since they were discovered, humankind has tried to grow them and domesticated them in their firms but with no success. Why? Truffles require a particular soil, moisture, and other conducive factors that are difficult is not impossible to control. The only way is to allow them to grow in the wild, especially in the roots of Chestnuts, hazelnut, or oak. The hunt for truffles in the wild can be daunting, with many hunters preferring to use dogs who sniff for them. Initially, pigs were employed to sniff them out because Truffles smell like pig testosterone, but the pigs would eat the truffles and destroy their garden. Due to the inability to farm them and their rarity in the wild, it makes them fetch a fortune in the market.
What do truffles taste like?
To pinpoint truffle’s taste is not easy and would be a great injustice to this delicacy. Many agree that it contains some earthiness taste with a meaty-gammy flavor of some ground mushrooms. Some have said that they taste just like they smell: nutty, earthy, and oaky with stinging savory black olives. Some have also claimed that it tastes like a mixture of chocolates and nuts with a subtle woody flavor combined with a slight mushroom taste. The taste also differs depending on species, the roots they grew on, the soil, the season of growth, and the region. For instance, white truffles are different from black, described as having a garlicky flavor that resembles a shallot with a strong musky aroma. Its spicy aroma can turn any traditional meal into an epicurean taste experience. All these factors show that not all truffle taste the same even truffle of the same species can taste differently.
Some places like Toscana Divino in Miami offer people an opportunity to fully explore the taste of truffles with their Truffle Experience program containing six-part dishes having truffle dishes.
What variety of truffles exists?
There are the white truffles usually identified with northern Italy. It is considered the most expensive in this region, and its aroma is much deeper and dizzying. In Italy, they even have a place where they host an annual truffle festival. Truffle stalls are arranged in the market square with people selling truffles and truffle-related products, giving the whole town an incredible smell.
Some black truffles grow well in Périgord, France. The perfume of the black is less intense and musky as compared to their white counterparts. This makes them a favorite ingredient in cooking. Today you can find them in many European supermarkets since they grow all over Europe
How are they used?
This depends on the species of truffles in question. The white truffles are best used in scented oil. You look for one that is made of organic white truffles, not artificially flavored ones. A paste made from white truffles, cream, and cheese can be added to sauces and risottos to give it the truffle’s flavor. Today, there is truffle oil that can easily be incorporated into many dishes. You can blend the exquisite Spanish olive oil with some black truffles and then use the blend to give a finishing touch to your meat or mushroom dish for an unbelievable flavor. Thinly chopped slices of truffles can be used to top eggs, rice, pasta, and chicken dishes for an amplified flavor and a beautiful presentation. Truffles can also be used in making butter flavors, creamy, or sinful spreads that are commonly used with a variety of foods.
You can cover your black truffles with rice to make amazing risotto, or you could use the minced black truffles in a scrambled egg for pure luxury. They are also good with fresh pasta.
How to preserve
Black truffles are now more accessible than ever before, though having a short self-life span of few weeks with good storage. Many prefer to keep their truffles in a wrapped paper towel placed in a jar and then have the jar in a veggie crisper. Remember, you can also freeze your truffle if you can not finish them at once. This you can do by wrapping them in aluminum foil. If not, use freezer bags, drain out all the air then freeze your truffles for a maximum of three months
Truffles are kitchen gold for chefs who intend to blow their customers’ minds with good taste and aroma. These fungi that grow on plant roots, leaves, bark, and soil are very notorious and expensive since they are rare. Their taste depends on the species, the type of soil they grow in, the area, and the region they come from. They are used widely with many dishes, while some are also used in oils. There are both white and black species of truffles, all of which are worth a fortune. If you have tried it in the kitchen, next time, blow the mind of your guest by incorporating it into your favorite dish.