The Truffle Craze: Part One

Truffle Salt, truffle butter, truffle oil, truffle cheeses, truffle vegetables, truffle fries, truffle pasta, truffle risotto, truffle this, truffle that…the list never ends…..especially in my apartment.

In this case, I’m not talking about the chocolate dipped, ganache filled, confectionary treat. I’m talking about a culinary addiction, which I dare say, is even better than a chocolate truffle. This underground growing “mushroom” is literally worth it’s weight in gold, are a delicacy unlike anyother in the culinary world. Even though you may love truffles, you aren’t a true foodie until you know everything, and anything, about them. If you’re a fact nerd like myself, or perhaps you love spending time wowing your friends with semi-weird knowledge, here are 10 facts to impress.

1) A truffle is a cross between a fungus and a tuber. It is essentially the underground version of a mushroom.

black truffle

2) There are hundreds of different kinds of truffles, and while none are known to be poisonous, only a few of them are considered to be delicacies by humans.

3) Truffles are harvested in Europe with the aid of female pigs or truffle dogs, which are able to detect the strong smell of mature truffles underneath the surface of the ground. Once discovered, truffles can be collected in subsequent years at the same site.

pig truffle hunter

4) In Italy, the use of pig truffle hunters is prohibited. It was banned in 1985 due to damage caused by the pigs to the truffle’s mycelia during the digging. It dropped truffle production rates for many years after.

5) While truffles have been grown commercially for over 100 years the science of truffle growing is still not fully understood. The truffle is the result of a complex symbiotic relationship between the soil, the fungus, the tree, and the climate and is difficult to observe underground.

6) Most truffle products are not made with real truffle. Instead they are flavored with a synthetic flavor that replicates the truffle aroma and flavor.

7) Truffle Vodka exists..I can’t promise it’s as good as any truffled food though.

truffle vodk

8) A truffle’s aroma and flavors diminish by half within four to five days. The fresher the better!

9) The largest truffle ever found was a white Alba truffle weighing in at 4.16 pounds. It sold for $61, 250 in 2014. The largest truffle prior to that sold for $417,200.

10) Truffles are the most profitable agricultural crop. You can get up to $30,000 to $40,000 in profit per acre, once the farm starts producing truffles.

The Best Truffle-y Restaurants in Florence

  • La Giostra: The white truffle pasta will start an incurable craving.
  •  Trattoria Anita: Tortellini with Truffle Cream Sauce and Sausage, so heavenly.
  •  Osteria delle Tre Panche: a separate menu for everything truffle.
  • Za Za’s: the truffle risotto and truffle fries are quite simply, to die for.
  • Torcicoda: 4 cheese pizza with real sliced truffles on top, count me in!

Leave a Reply