For those that know me, you know that I haven’t stopped talking about truffles since returning to the States – and it’s not the chocolate ones. These so-called “diamonds of the kitchen” are flavorful little fungi that grow near the roots of trees in Italy & France. The only type I can speak on are the Italian kind but if you want to know more about these little beauties and why they are amazing keep on reading!!
So what makes these so rare and expensive? Well, one reason is because both white truffles as well as black can’t be found without the help of dogs (and sometimes pigs, but that’s more of a French technique) to find them. They are also only found in Italy and France (nowhere else) and only grow during a certain time of year. In fact, they hold a festival every September to celebrate the start of the truffle hunting season!
Truffles can be purchased in a variety of ways, one being the ever-famous truffle oil.
White truffle oil is sold in a can (keeps the oil fresh longer) or a glass bottle. No oil actually has truffle in it, though, instead the white truffle is put in olive oil and then after the aroma is released, the truffle is removed. When purchasing truffle oil, make sure it is authentic (only lists white truffle aroma and olive oil as ingredients) but you don’t need to spend a fortune on it since there is no actual truffle still in it. Pricing can run from 10 euros and up depending on the quantity purchased.
Fake oils have a chemical in them as well as the olive oil and aroma – you can tell if you taste the oil and you immediately taste the truffle (if it’s real, you first taste the olive oil then the truffle since the truffle is put in the bottom of the bottle and should take time to come through.
Truffle has a very strong taste so either you love it or hate it. The best way to use the oil is mainly pasta and bread, but also can use with salad or just about anything savory.
Truffle Oil Gnocchi
White truffles are more expensive and more prized than black truffles since they are harder to find and taste better as well as a shorter season for harvesting. The most expensive one was a world record size and went for 330,000 euros – no joke!!
Black truffles, on the other hand, are still expensive but are more accessible than white truffles and so are cheaper. These truffles can be sold as is to be grated over dishes, mixed with porcini mushroons into a creamy spread, or cooked whole.
Black Truffle Gnocchi
Black Truffle Ravioli with White Truffle Cream Sauce
Black Truffle Fries
Black Truffle Carbonara with White Truffle Oil
White Truffle Oil Pizza Topped with Black Truffle from O’Vesuvio
Black Truffle Cream, Pecorino and Salami Sandwich
Is your mouth watering yet?
If you don’t believe me, try some the next time you see it on a menu!
One place to look for is Zaza’s – they have multiple menus and one is dedicated to all things truffle!! Almost all of the black truffle meals pictured are from there (except the pizza and sandwich).
That’s all for now – ciao!