Do you know what do truffles taste like? Some say they’re earthy, some say they’re pungent.
But what does that mean, really? And can you really tell the difference between a truffle and a regular old mushroom? Read on to find out.
If you want to learn more about what some foods taste like make sure to check this post about how does swordfish taste like.
What are truffles
Truffles are part of the fungus family. There are around 10 different types that are enjoyed as a delicacy.
While truffles can be cultivated, the majority of truffles in the world come from a fungus that infects trees – mainly oaks. Truffles have been highly prized since ancient times. They can sell for as high as $2000/oz!
Truffle season is from fall to spring. When truffle season is in, it’s possible to find them on the menu of many expensive restaurants.
Truffles are harvested by specially trained dogs and pigs that can sniff out their scent from a great distance. These animals have been bred for generations to be able to detect the fungi.
What do truffles taste like
The flavor of truffles depends on the type. The French black truffle has a mostly sweet flavor but with an earthy undertone. This is not unlike the white Alba truffle, which is more subtle than its darker counterpart. Truffles have an aroma that’s also distinctive – it’s caused by the presence of 2 compounds, butyl and methyl mercaptan.
With their pungent flavor, it’s no surprise that white and black truffles are used mainly to enhance the existing flavor of a dish. This is why they’re often shaved or grated over dishes at the last minute. Truffles are also used in cooking oils, butter, and salt.
White truffles are lauded for their ability to turn an ordinary dish into a gourmet one. A good analogy is using truffle oil – it’s the convenience of being able to add deliciousness with just one ingredient.
What does white truffle taste like
White truffles are not as bold in flavor as their darker counterpart, but they have a very unique aroma that is quite distinct. They are widely used in Italian cuisine to add flavor to pasta dishes, risotto, and even eggs.
The white truffle has a stronger smell than the black one. When you slice into them, you can also notice the white veins that are present throughout.
Since they’re younger, white truffles have a slightly firmer texture as well. They’re much more delicate and should be treated with care to prevent bruising.
What do truffles smell like
Truffles have a strong and distinctive smell. The type of truffle can affect the taste and flavor, but the odor remains the same.
Properly stored black truffles should retain their aroma for 1 week or longer, while white truffles will only last around 3 days. Even so, you’ll know if they’ve gone bad if their scent has turned sour.
When shopping, take a whiff and you’ll be able to tell the good ones from the bad ones based on smell alone.
How do you eat truffles
Traditionally, truffles were eaten raw. However, cooking them is also an option – but only if the truffles are fresh.
That’s because once they’re cooked, truffles become way too soft and lose their distinctive flavor. If you do want to eat them cooked, it is best to shave or grate them onto a dish just before serving.
There is no need to peel truffles unless they’re unpleasantly dirty on the outside. Simply brush off any dirt and get right down to eating!
Truffles are highly perishable so proper storage is important for getting the most out of your purchase.
You can enjoy truffles on:
- Truffle oil: Oil infused with truffles
- Butter: Butter infused with truffles
- Truffle risotto
- Truffle salt
- With chicken
- WIth soups and creams
What are truffles used for
Truffles are a delicacy and an expensive one at that. They’re also very versatile so they can be used in many ways to add flavor to your dishes.
In the kitchen, truffles have their uses in sauces, pasta, risotto, eggs, or even salt. The key thing is to use them last minute – just before serving. The heat of the dish will help to draw out their flavor and aroma, making your meal even more special.
Black truffles are generally used in French cuisine. White truffles, on the other hand, are better suited to Italian dishes since they’re lighter and less earthy-tasting.
Where do truffles grow
Truffles grow in many regions around the world, including France, Italy, and Spain. In the United States, Oregon has a healthy truffle industry as well.
Most of the world’s supply of black and white truffles comes from truffle farms. The fungus is encouraged to grow and mature by burying the truffles underground and inoculating the surrounding soil with spores.
On these farms, you can harvest truffles during certain seasons. But how long it takes before harvesting depends on factors like where they are grown along with the type of fungus – it can take anywhere from 3 to 7 years!
Truffles can mature on their own as well, but that takes even longer – around 10 years.
How much do truffles cost
It depends on the market and the type of truffle you are getting. As a rough guide, you can expect white truffles to sell for around $4000 per pound, while black truffles will go for about half the price.
And it’s even possible that if the season is good enough, prices could skyrocket!
Frequently asked questions about truffles
Do truffles taste good?
Truffles are considered to be a delicacy and gourmet food, so the answer is yes. They have a distinct flavor that’s prized by many people all over the world.
Is truffle a mushroom?
No, truffles come from a family of fungi called ascomycetes. Although they resemble mushrooms, they have different characteristics and growth patterns.
Why do truffles taste so bad?
They don’t taste bad but they do have a distinct aroma and flavor that can be off-putting for some.