If you haven’t tried truffles before, you’re seriously missing out. They’re a rare delight that everyone needs to try at least once in their lifetime.
Even though they’re quite expensive, they taste absolutely divine and add an earthy and umami flavor to any dish they’re added to.
We love to use truffle oil when cooking eggs or flavor a pasta dish.
In this blog post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about truffles, what they taste like, and how they can be used.
What Is a Truffle?
Truffles are a rare treat that is generally only served as a rare addition to a dish in the finest of restaurants. The most common types of truffles are white truffles and black truffles.
Often when cooking people will actually use truffle oil to infuse the flavor without having the expense of the actual truffle.
White truffles are often served raw and shaved directly onto a dish but you can also cook them into a dish. White truffles tend to be more expensive than black truffles.
White truffles are often compared to gold or diamonds because of their price.
Black truffles are quite pungent and strong in smell and as a result, are generally not served raw but are instead cooked into a dish.
Truffles are edible fungi, just like mushrooms, but they’ve grown underground near tree roots. The best kinds of truffles are wildly expensive and can cost up to thousands of dollars per pound.
Truffles should not be confused with chocolate truffles. Those are completely different.
They can only thrive in specific weather conditions. Black truffles need mild or dry winters and warm summers to grow.
Two of the most highly valued truffles include black truffles from France and white truffles from Italy.
Black Truffle vs. White Truffle
White truffles are more aromatic than black truffles. White truffles are often eaten raw and sliced thinly to serve atop a dish. Black truffles are rarely served raw but instead are cooked into a dish.
White truffles are also the more expensive of the two. You can buy white truffles online for about $200 an oz. This pricing is why they are often called the white diamond in cooking.
Black truffles, on the other hand, are a bit cheaper and you can sometimes find them for about $150 an oz. Of course, shop around before purchasing.
Black truffles grow in France from December to February. White truffles, however, come from Italy’s Piedmont region that borders Switzerland and France and are found in certain parts of Croatia.
The season for white truffles spans September through December and hits its peak in October and November. There are other species of black truffles harvested in the summer that can also be used in cooking but they’re known to be a lot less luxurious in flavor.
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What Is Truffle Oil?
Truffle oil is basically food-grade oil that has either fresh or dried truffles infused in it. The truffle oil was created as a way to add the earthy and umami flavor of truffles to dishes without having to pay an exorbitant amount for the fresh product.
After pieces of truffle are added, the oil is stored for some time until it absorbs both the scent and flavor of this edible fungus.
The cheaper truffle oils have been created to mimic the smell and taste of truffles without actually containing truffles.
Of course, even this simulated flavor can be quite pleasing to the ol’ taste buds.
What Do Truffles Taste Like?
Truffles have a very unique earthy flavor to them. While it is difficult to compare it to anything else it has a garlic-like bite with a hint of nutty mushroom.
Eating truffles in a dish is a unique experience and part of it is the aroma that they add to a dish even more than the taste.
Even though truffles may have a pungent smell, their flavor makes up for it. For optimum flavor, you need to serve them either raw or cooked with the right ingredients. White truffles and black truffles are known to taste quite similar after they’re cooked.
Even though white truffles can be enjoyed raw or cooked, raw black truffles are not as appetizing to many.
Black truffles have a more intense smell but white truffles have a stronger flavor. Describing the taste of truffles is not an easy task because it has a variety of complex flavors that are difficult to identify. They don’t taste sweet, but they’re not bitter either.
Why Are Truffles So Expensive?
Truffles are expensive for a number of reasons. They’re incredibly hard to find, grow in very specific weather conditions, and downright impossible to store.
Even though a variety of species have been found all over the globe, prestige truffles are found in specific areas, just like wine that only comes from celebrated regions of Europe.
Raw truffles have to be in season to purchase them and the season is also regional.
Can You Eat Truffles Raw?
You may not be aware of this, but fresh white truffles are actually the best in flavor and don’t even need to be cooked. They’re very simple to prepare. All you need to do is shave off the top and get it warmed up so it tastes just right.
Black truffles, on the other hand, need to be cooked up a little in order to get rid of their intense smell.
How to Buy Truffles
Since truffles cannot be planted, all the varieties are only available for a few months every year. If you’re interested in buying white or burgundy truffles, you should look for fresh and fragrant fungi.
You can find white truffles between September and December, black truffles from December to the beginning of March, and bianchetti truffles almost exclusively in February and March. It’s advisable to get them from a good restaurant or specialty stores.
It’s recommended that you only buy them during their harvesting season as their flavor can go away just within a few weeks of harvesting.
Truffles can be enjoyed in many different ways. You can use a metal slicer to shave them over all kinds of pasta, polenta, risotto, and even eggs if you’re feeling fancy.
These shavings can add the most luxurious twist to the plainest of dishes.
We’ve already established that truffle is a kind of edible fungus, but you shouldn’t confuse it with mushrooms that you can boil, bake or fry.
Cooking truffles for too long can destroy their characteristic flavor and scent.
How to Use Truffle Oil
- Garlic bread
Truffles are best enjoyed in their harvesting season and mustn’t be kept out for long as they can lose their flavor and aroma within a week or two. You may refrigerate them if you wish to increase their shelf-life.
Most people believe that the flavor of truffles isn’t overhyped at all and is well worth the price. If this blog has piqued your interest in truffles, remember to get them only during their harvesting season and feel free to shave them over eggs, salads or any savory dishes of your choice.