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Information about Truffles

 Featured Ingredient - France



Go to:-  French Speciality Dish France Main Page  |  Cooking by Country Main Page




Truffles are a fungi, like mushrooms, but which grow under ground. However, because they  only grow  in particular conditions, i.e. next to the roots of certain hardwood trees such as oak, they are relatively rare. In addition, the presence of such trees doesn’t guarantee the presence of Truffles and the erratic way truffles spread makes finding them very difficult.  Harvesting truffles is labour intensive and usually requires the aid of a specially trained dog or female pig (truffles give off an aroma similar to sexual hormones, to which female pigs are attracted). No wonder they are one of the most expensive foods in the world.


There  are  about 70 different types of truffles globally some of which are better than others. The colours range from black  to brown, grey to white with sized from 3 to 5cm in diameter. Many believe the best truffles are to be found in Italy and France,  of which the most popular or well known  varieties are the White Italian Truffle and the Black Perigord Truffle. The tastes differ in that the White Truffle has a creamy texture and a clean taste whereas the Black Truffle has a rich earthy flavor reminiscent of nuts and mushrooms and an altogether more pungent aroma.


Fresh Truffles should be consumed within 3 days however they can be frozen. If freezing, do so in small usable quantities as re-freezing ruins the taste and aroma. They are also sold in jars, whole, sliced and pureed and used in vinegar,  butter  and oil - great drizzled over simply grilled fish.  When used in recipes their unique taste is best savoured  when added towards the end of cooking. In general, use White Truffles for dishes such as scrambled eggs, pasta, risotto, veal and  scallops and Black Truffles with Meat and Poultry dishes.


You can find  recipes using this classic ingredient on the main France Cooking by Country Page and throughout the site. Just use the search form to find them all.


Happy Cooking!




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