Truffles are a hot trend in food right now, but they aren’t new. Truffles, the fruiting body of a subterranean fungus, are often called the “diamond of the kitchen.” Basically, they are mushrooms that grow on the roots of trees. There are many types of truffles, all with their own distinct flavor.
While these delicacies don’t have an exquisite look, they are exotic and typically rather scarce. They grow underground, and some people even search for them in the wild. The drive to have truffle recipes at fine dining establishments has become the norm. But what makes them so special?
The use of truffles dates back to the Greek and Roman empires. They were used by these civilizations for therapeutic purposes. They also believed truffles to be exotic because of their unique smell and taste, making them very popular among the nobility.
During the Middle Ages, truffles disappeared. They were even considered evil because of their odor. The Renaissance brought truffles back into the spotlight when Louis XIV of France made them a staple of his court. From then to the future, truffles have been highly sought after.
Types of Truffles and How They Are Used
There are three types of truffles used in cooking: Black truffle (melanosporum), Burgundy truffle (aestivum), and White truffle (magnatrum). There are several hundred other species of truffles found around the world, but many of those have not made it to the culinary scene.
They are mostly found in Europe, including France, Italy, Spain, and Croatia. France holds the lead in harvesting and eating truffles. They also grow in western North America and Australia. To grow, truffles need cool, rainy winters and warm, dry summers. They only grow on certain kinds of trees, including oak, hazel, poplar, beech, and pine.
Since conditions must be perfect and there are limitations on how truffles grow, this means they are very rare. Because the tree and fungus have to grow together, it makes it nearly impossible to mass harvest them. Scientists still aren’t sure exactly why truffles grow on specific trees and conditions.
Rarity in a product usually influences high demand. And when you are talking about a luxury food item like truffles, you can only get them from certain restaurants or artisans.
Because of their pungent odor, truffles are used very carefully by chefs and artisans to create extraordinary foods. It’s become a popular topping for fries, pasta, and meat. Truffle oils are often used in the cooking process as well.
Incorporating Truffles into a Dish
While you’ve probably heard of truffles at topics as noted above, there are many types of truffle recipes that either use the whole truffle or truffle oil. White truffles are best used as a shaved topping on eggs, risotto, and other savory dishes.
Black truffles accent meat the best. It seamlessly blends with a steak or seafood. Burgundy truffles can add an unexpected twist to soups, pasta, meats, and more. It’s considered the most usable type of truffle.
Truffle Gifts Make an Impression
If you’re in love with all things truffle, then chances are you’ll think they make a great gift. Adding truffle gifts to a food basket will certainly make a statement. The recipient will know that you took the time and care to choose something that’s both lavish and practical.
When choosing truffle gifts, be sure that you are curating products from established artisans who take their craft seriously. You don’t want the gift to be imitation truffles or substandard. Always look for quality and freshness. Truffles actually have a short shelf life but can be preserved for longer.
Some popular truffle gifts include black or white truffle oil, white truffle salt, truffle risotto and truffle slices.
If you have a friend, relative, business associate, or customer that’s a true foodie, truffle gifts will certainly wow them. If you choose to gift them truffle oil, you could also include truffle recipes, so they’ll have ideas on how to use it best.
The world of truffles will only expand as creative chefs, and artisans find unique ways to use them. As long as there are intrigued palettes, truffles will be an important part of high cuisine. Make your next food gift basket extra special by including a truffle gift. You can check out our collection of truffles, handmade by Italian artisans, to find that one-of-kind gift. Find them here!