All About Truffles
Posted on September 11, 2018
Truffles, the diamonds of the culinary world, have reached cult status among chefs and gourmands thanks to an intoxicating flavor that’s synonymous with luxury. When it comes to harvesting these rich and distinctive tasting fungi, a truffle-hunting dog is a chef’s best friend. In a remarkable symbiotic relationship, a truffle hunter (trifoloa) heads to the woods and follows the trusted nose of his pup; with a little luck and persistence, these rare treasures are literally sniffed out by a well-trained dog and then carefully dug out of the ground, leaving a small amount of truffle to repopulate.
While truffles aren’t much to look at, especially with its oblong shape and smallish spongy texture, the incredible flavor boasts an impressive profile that has the ability to transform Italian cuisine. Technically a mushroom, truffles are attached to underground roots where they grow symbiotically with the shrubs and trees of oak and hazelnut.
As the truffles develop, they take on the nuanced characteristics of the forest floor, giving cooks the opportunity to bring earthy and pungent flavors to a long list of dishes. For top rated chefs, the environment is what inspires the most inventive and thought-provoking cuisine, and in the case of truffles, it adds delicate whispers of the forest to any recipe.
With a total of 25 species, nine of which are edible, Northern Italy is considered truffle heaven, particularly in the northern Piedmont region. Known as the “Diamonds of Alba,” white truffles (Tuber magnatum Pico) are the most prized variety. According to truffle hunter Ezio Costa, the best way to enjoy this culinary delicacy is by eating them raw. “We shave it on hot and cold dishes to enhance them.”
Truffles are considered a delicacy not just for their incredible flavor but also because of their rarity and complicated harvesting methods. If the season suffers a drought for instance, truffles can fetch up to $3000 per pound. This volatility in the truffle market makes infusing truffles into extra virgin olive oils, condiments, and even flours a smart and budget-friendly way to enjoy the taste of truffles in your menu rotation.
When you incorporate the velvety and luxurious flavor of truffles into your recipes, it has the power to instantly elevate a dish from ordinary to world class.
According to sommelier Sandro Minella, “The pairing is not with the truffle, but with the whole dish: sweet, savory, hot or cold.” The magic of truffle oil is that it brings to life hearty and simple ingredients. When pairing truffle-infused products into your cooking, look for dishes with a mild and balanced flavor profile—that way, the pungent and rich truffles can stand on their own.
The best tasting dishes come down to quality, which is why Truffle Hunter’s White Truffle Oil Double Concentrate extra virgin olive oil is the preferred cooking oil for top chefs. Establishing themselves as leaders in the truffle import industry, Truffle Hunter also features garlic and black truffle flavored oils, which are excellent for adding a layer of heat and complexity to your favorite recipes.
When black truffles are heated during the oil infusion process, all of its nuanced flavors are released, adding panache to every delectable bite. For a more intense gastronomic experience, try Truffle Hunter’s Black Truffle Oil Double Concentrate, which imparts a robust flavor with a kick of muskiness. When you cook potatoes with it, the food itself becomes a delivery system for this earthy and robust oil, especially when baked into homemade French fries, an instantly addictive table snack.
Add some serious flour power to your next batch of pasta, bread, or pizza when you add a pinch of Sabatino White Truffle Flour to your dough, which blends white truffles and white flour for an explosion of flavor. In fact, the aroma is so intense, truffle experts recommend storing it in the freezer. Otherwise, your entire pantry will be consumed by the white truffle aroma.
For Chef Rick Gencarelli of Olives near Union Square, truffle flour is the signature flavor in his world-famous gnocchi dough; he also uses it as a light, gourmet breading for seared bay scallops. The price of truffle-infused products might be on the high end, but remember that a pinch of truffle flour goes a long way, especially when you cook with premium quality ingredients.
Experience the melt-in-your-mouth texture of truffles with Sabatino’s Sliced Black Summer Truffle Carpaccio, which are thin slices of the black variety preserved in extra virgin olive oil. The Rolls Royce of antipasti platters, these tender petals of deliciousness can be artfully arranged alongside a few slices of beef Carpaccio, your favorite gourmet Italian cheeses, and fresh herbs for an elegant finish.
Transform an ordinary sandwich into a gourmet experience with truffle flavored condiments like Truffle Hunter Black Truffle Mustard, which combines the pungent flavor of truffles with Dijon mustard from France. Using a cold blended process to preserve the flavor and aroma, the Dijon is infused with superior European black truffles. Spread it generously on burgers, give dressings a gourmet touch, or add an unexpected twist to tuna salad.
Truffle Hunter also makes a Black Truffle Mayonnaise that uses farm fresh ingredients like British free-range eggs and locally sourced extra virgin rapeseed oil. Using the cold pressed process to retain all the flavors, this luscious creamy mayonnaise is also infused with superior European black truffles.
The world’s most well known condiment gets an elegant upgrade with Black Truffle Ketchup by Truffle Hunter. Showcasing pure black truffles is a combination of fresh seasonings and vine ripened tomatoes, which are blended with extra virgin olive oil. Try it in place of regular ketchup and get ready to take your burgers and sandwiches to the next level.
Another dangerously addictive truffle product is the Artichoke Truffle Sauce from Cucina Amore, an easy way to up the ante on your appetizer dipping sauce. A versatile ingredient for your gourmet pantry, this rich and flavorful sauce offers a range of uses in the kitchen. Incorporate it with pastas, use as a dipping sauce, or sprinkle on pizza to add depth and flavor to every bite.
Along with other essentials like extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the like, keep your kitchen pantry stocked with truffle-infused products and have a complete palette indulging flavors at your fingertips.