Everyone who has ever watched food network or walked into a fancy grocery has seen truffles. The black or white mushrooms are expensive and rare.
Their flavor is a rich fungus taste adds something subtle and extraordinary to a dish.
With that said, they are an acquired taste as well.
There are hundreds of species of truffles, but only a few are edible.
Here are 10 facts you need to know about the greatest hunt – truffles!
Truffles take years to grow – It can take over 20 years for truffle spores to turn into this delicious fungus. Also, they aren’t something you can plant and harvest at a specific time. Since nature controls everything, truffles are rare. Add to this the idea that truffles compete with the trees they grow near for nutrients in the soil. If the truffles were plentiful, the trees would die of starvation. It’s the rarity that makes truffles so popular.
Dogs, pigs, and eye – Truffles are usually harvested by dogs. Man’s best friend replaced pigs over the last 50 years because the pigs tend to eat the truffles. Dogs will too, but they’re much easier to distract with peanut butter. Dogs can also be taught to find only ripe truffles, decreasing the likelihood of extracting unripe truffles. It’s also possible to find truffles without four-legged help. Rodents will dive down for a tasty morsel. If you see the hole and follow it down, you’ll find a truffle. This is one way that people find truffles in the Pacific Northwest.
Truffles are worth more than gold – That might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s true. A two pound truffle sold a few years ago for $300,000. On average, black truffles sell for about $98 an ounce and white truffles sell for about $168 an ounce, making this the most expensive food item in the world. This has also brought on some foolish behavior. Organized crime has gotten involved. In fact, there is a good chance that most of the truffles that restaurants are selling are obtained illegally in some way, usually by someone harvesting on someone else’s land.
White truffles – White truffles are the most prized, particularly ones harvested in Northern Italy. Oregon produces a white truffle that’s delicious and significantly less expensive.
Black truffles – These truffles are highly prized as an ingredient. They have a rich nutty aroma and flavor. There are also black summer truffles, which Aroma Truffles and Co. uses on their potato chips, that have a full hazelnut-like flavor. Many prefer the summer truffle simply because they have a bolder taste than the standard black truffle.
Cooking with truffles – Truffles are typically added to a dish after cooking. They aren’t cooked or they lose their texture and flavor. One of the most common preparations is to create a delicious pasta dish. Truffles are just shaved over the top. The heat and moisture of the food releases the taste and aroma of the truffles.
Not the chocolate – Truffle is also the name of a
type of chocolate treat from France. They are delicious, complex, and multilayered. They have no truffles in them. Don’t be confused.
Truffle nutrition – Truffles are low in carbohydrates, high in dietary fiber, and have quite a bit of protein for a fungus. They are great for a keto diet or simply as a nutritious addition to any dish.
- In ancient Greece, they thought that truffles were created when lightning struck damp soil.
- Truffles give trees phosphorous and get back sugar to grow from.
- Pigs, especially sows, go hunting for truffles because they give off a scent that is just like a sex hormone given off by male pigs. Truffles literally make pigs randy.
- Men produce the same hormone in their sweat. Maybe sweating near lady pigs is a bad idea.
- Truffles are mushrooms that likely went underground to be able to survive forest fires.
- Until 1930, the Collins family of Wiltshire were the only people to possess a license to harvest truffles in the UK. After 1930, everyone was allowed.
- Italians consider the white truffle (tuber magnatum) to be better than the black truffle (tuber melonosporum).
- Truffle production in France peaked near the end of the nineteenth century at around 1,000 tons per year. Today, the nation only produces about 30 tons per year.
- Monks in the Middle Ages weren’t allowed to eat truffles because of their legendary aphrodisiac properties.
- Epicureans (a group that followed the Greek philosopher Epicurus and were dedicated to sensual enjoyment) like to have the scent of truffles on bed sheets in brothels they visited.
- Truffles are on every foodies list of the best food in the world. Their distinct flavor and rarity make them a special treat.
- These strange little fungi are an obsession for many foodies. Many people have traveled the world over looking for the perfect truffle or the perfect truffle dish.