Planning to introduce truffles more into your diet and kitchen? Most people know nothing about how to choose, care, store and cook with truffles, or where they even come from?
So what exactly are they?
Truffles are like mushrooms, a fruiting body of fungus that grows underground in close association with tree roots. They are a delicacy, rich in flavour and intense with aroma.
How to choose a truffle?
There are hundreds of varieties of truffles, however, the most commonly harvested are black and white for gourmet purposes. The most important things to look for when buying truffle is an aroma you enjoy, freshness and firmness (no squishiness).
Our Types of Truffles
The White Alba Truffle - Tuber magnatum.
The most expensive, rare, and aromatic truffle is the white truffle from Alba in Piedmont, Italy. Harvested from October to December, reaching their peak in October and November. It is whitish brown in colour, smooth skinned and some come with reddish streaks. It’s best shaved into or onto finished dishes.
The Black Perigord Truffle - Tuber melanosporum
The world’s best known truffle, which includes the Perigord of France and the Dolce di Norcia of Italy is typically harvested from mid-November to mid-March. It has a black exterior colour with a rough outer surface. The inside flesh is a black violet colour, streaked with white veins when ripe.
The Australian Black Winter truffle, Tuber melanosporum
Identical to the Perigord truffle, it’s given a different name due to its growing region and harvesting dates - early June through late August.
Truffle care and store tips
- Fresh is always best. Try to eat fresh truffles within a week to 14 days of purchase.
- Truffles don’t like moisture, so it’s important to wrap them in absorbent paper, such as paper towel and place them in a dry, sealed container. Keep the container in the fridge and change the paper daily.
Cooking with truffles
Truffles are a flavour enhancer, therefore you have to be careful how and when you decide to add it. Generally, they are better with savoury dishes, however we’ve seen truffle in sweet dishes as well. They can be paired with root vegetables, grilled or roasted meats, seafood, eggs, cheese, butter, risotto and pasta. The technique is usually to shave, grate or slice truffles.
If you have any leftover truffle, you can easily preserve it by simply mixing into softened butter and freezing. This is done by grating the truffle into butter, rolling it and storing. You can then slice off a bit and add it as a topping to any of your favourite dishes.
Spirits are another easy way to preserve any leftover truffle. Simply shave into a bottle of vodka or gin and the truffle will infuse through within two to four days.
Fresh truffles can also be infused into olive oil. All you need to do is place your truffle slices in a saucepan with olive oil and gently warm on low heat for about an hour. Pour the olive oil into a jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Purchase truffles from Gourmet Life. Get in-store or contact us for delivery. Find out more.