WHAT ARE TRUFFLES?

WHAT ARE TRUFFLES AND WHAT DO THEY TASTE LIKE?

This dynamic flavour complements everything from pasta dishes to fried chicken wings. Its fresh, savoury, and earthy taste is often used as a finishing touch, making it an essential ingredient we can't get enough of. Real truffles are rare, but once you've had the chance to sample them, you'll never forget the experience. From their unique taste to their seasonality, they offer a truly unique culinary experience. These edible fungi are among the most sought-after foods in the world.

If you want to elevate your culinary knowledge, learning about truffles can excite your senses in a new way! Here is everything you need to know about edible truffles, the different types you might find, and what truffles taste like.



WHAT ARE TRUFFLES?

Truffles are a type of fungus that grows underground at or near the base of trees known as host trees, but not all trees are suitable for truffle growth. Typical host trees include poplar, beech, and oak trees.

Truffle fungi grow worldwide in many different varieties. They can be distinguished by their colour, shape, size, and flavour.

Truffles don’t look like the typical capped mushrooms known as boletus fungi. In fact, they resemble odd little potatoes when you first see them. Don’t let their appearance fool you — these natural wonders are packed with incredible flavour!

While there are various types of truffles, only some are considered edible for humans. Many wild, non-commercial varieties are toxic.

Truffles can be found in many countries, but they are most common in France and Italy. The most common type of truffle is the alba or white truffle. These delicious mushrooms grow in Italy, France, and Spain. They can cost up to $5,060 per kilogram!

If you've never had truffles before, you're missing out on an experience that will change your life forever. Truffle lovers will tell you that once you try one for yourself, there's no going back, and we'd have to agree!



HOW DO PEOPLE FIND TRUFFLES?

Truffles are mushrooms that grow underground in forests. They're shaped like small, unsymmetrical balls and can be found by digging, especially near tree roots.

They have a distinct earthy smell and taste. Truffles can be found in the wild by various animals, including dogs, pigs, pigeons, rats, badgers, moles, horses, rabbits, and raccoons. In fact, you can even purchase truffle-hunting kits for dogs online.

Once matured, humans harvest a truffle by digging up the plant, cutting off several parts of the root system at various depths for use, and replanting the rest elsewhere so they can continue growing.

These truffles are acquired in many ways, ranging from truffle farms to truffle hunters. Today, truffle products are sourced from both wild and farmed truffles found in countless places around the world, including:

  • New Zealand
  • North America's Pacific Northwest
  • New York
  • Australia
  • Tuscany, Alba, and Piedmont regions of Italy
  • The Périgord region of France


HOW DOES TRUFFLE HUNTING WORK?

Truffle hunting is a seasonal activity that usually takes place from September to November, though this can vary when hunting specific types of truffle. Additionally, there are many different methods to find truffles depending on the species you're looking to harvest.

Here are some of the most common ways that truffle hunters search for this particular subterranean fungus:

DOGS

The most common method of truffle hunting is using specially trained dogs to sniff out black truffles underground. Once they've located a truffle, they dig it up with their teeth and give it to their handler. 


PIGS

Pigs are also trained to find truffles similarly to dogs. They do this by smelling or tasting the ground in certain areas where truffles might be below them. Sometimes hunters use their feet instead of their snouts for searching purposes. Female pigs are most commonly used for this purpose because the scent of truffles is vaguely similar to the scent of a male pig.

PIGEONS

This bird may not seem like an obvious choice for truffle hunting, but pigeons can do a good job locating these fungi if given enough time and training! Some hunters choose to use pigeons because they don't require special equipment (such as collars) as pigs or dogs would.



WHAT DO TRUFFLES TASTE LIKE?

Truffles have a distinct flavour that is both earthy and mushroom-like, but it’s a much more intense flavour than your average mushroom. The taste is hard to describe, but once you've experienced it for yourself, it's easy to understand why they’re so loved!

Some people compare the taste of truffles to the forest floor in the summertime when everything is green and fresh after a cooling rain. Others say that truffles have a savoury, meaty taste with hints of nuttiness or brininess — almost like a really good green olive.

The flavour of truffles can vary depending on the variety you choose. Among the many varieties are:

  • White truffles
  • Black truffles
  • Summer truffles
  • Burgundy truffles
  • Périgord truffles
  • French black truffles
  • Black summer truffles


WHAT FOODS GO WELL WITH TRUFFLES?

In addition to being a luxury food, truffles can be used to flavour other foods. Truffle oil is a prime example of a versatile use for truffles. Truffle oil has a robust aroma and should be used sparingly to avoid overpowering other flavours in a dish. It’s most often made from olive oil, which has a smooth, distinct flavour that perfectly complements truffles.

Other products that incorporate truffle include truffle salt, hot sauce, truffle butter, and truffle cheese (specifically Parmesan cheese). Truffles can also be sliced or shredded and placed around the rim of a plate or sprinkled over a salad for visual appeal.

There are also ice creams and chocolates flavoured with black or white truffle. Honey can even be made with the fungus for some palate contrast. You may also find pasta sauces mixed with truffles. These sauces tend to have an intense flavour that pairs well with red meats like beef.

You can even drizzle a little truffle oil on your popcorn for a super simple truffle add-in. Up the flavour of this savoury snack at home by combining white peppercorns and fresh thyme leaves with your oil before drizzling over lightly salted kernels.

Many food lovers use truffle oils and salts as a garnish on various French and Italian foods like risotto, salads, and pasta. The umami flavour that comes with these mushrooms ensures that every dish they are added to will almost magically taste better.



EMBRACE THE TRUFFLE

Here at TRUFF, we believe that one of the best ways to indulge in truffles is through truffle oil. It's a versatile product that can enhance everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to burgers to the most ornate dishes a chef can make. With its potent, unique flavour, our truffle oil and other products are sure to wow your taste buds and blow away dinner guests.

We've got you covered whether you're looking for hot sauce, mayo, oil, or something to add a little oomph to your pasta. Just browse through our selection of truffle-infused products, and we're sure you'll find something that will fit your preference!

If taking your taste buds to the next level interests you, feel free to check out our line of flavour-enhancing truffle products here at TRUFF!

Sources:

What Are Truffles and Why Are They So Expensive? | Hospitality Insights
Truffle Hunting Dogs: Tracking Underground Treasure Using Trained Dogs | AKC
Truffles: Why are they so expensive? | USA Today

Truffles

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