Three things come to mind when I hear the word Truffle:

1. Chocolate Truffles – A chocolate treat round in shape, named after the fungi dating back to France in 1895. Delicious.

2. The Truffle Shuffle from the Goonies. No explanation required, just watch the clip.

and

3. Truffle fungi. The fancy hella expensive fungus, that grows underground most commonly forged for by trained pigs or dogs.

 And that my dear friends is what today’s post is about. A rare delicacy.

I had my first taste of truffle a couple of years ago when I was out for dinner with the producers and some crew of a film I was working on at the time. Lets just say the production was paying for our meal, it was already an expensive restaurant to begin with so yes, of course I ordered the steak with truffle on it.

If only I had a photo or could remember how it was served. I do however remember it being extremely tasty.

My second taste of truffle was last week, but in various forms other than just straight up truffle. While in Seattle I went on a Gourmet food tour with Savor Seattle Food Tours and one of our stops was at the La Buona Tavola – Italian Truffle Cafe near the famous Pike Place Market.

Served to us on a tray by our lovely tour guide Mark we first had White Truffle Oil dripped onto a small taste of Potato Leek soup. To me it gave the soup a slight garlic flavor, which I think the warmth of the soup brought out even more. I wish I could of had a whole bowl of it.

Next we tried drops of White truffle EVOO and Black Truffle EVOO along with not pictured here aged 10 and 15 years balsamic vinegar. We also tasted White and Black truffle cream and then my favorite, truffle salt!

If you don’t know already I’m crazy for salt (I once sacrificed a kilo of weight in my suitcase to bring home some sea salt from Spain…). We only had a taste of it but I was hooked and was immediately asking for prices. I may or may not of then paid $9 for what is surely no more than 2tbsps of the Truffle salt… Maybe… and I bought some of the White Truffle EVOO for $22 for 100ml.

To me however, this is money well spent, but now what to cook with it? I was told the truffle salt tastes good on popcorn. Hmmm. Apparently you can also buy (somewhere in the world) “Black moth vodka” which is vodka with truffle in it. Now where can I get me some of that?!

Truffle Facts:

  • The truffle is one of the most expensive natural foods in the world.
  • On average they range in sizes from the of a walnut to a mans fist.
  • Some refer to it as “the diamond of the kitchen
  • Truffles can loose their taste very quickly and are often store amongst rice in freezers to try to keep the taste.
  • The taste of the truffle has been describe as being garlic and earthy.
  • The most valuable truffles are the white ones from regions in Italy. Truffles can also be found in France, Spain, Croatia and more recently China, Australia and even the US.
  • The most ever paid for a truffle was $330,000 for one truffle which weighed 3.3lbs
  • China grows an inferior black truffle with little taste that is often illegally mixed in with other black truffles nearly impossible to detect unless under a microscope.
  • Originally female truffle hogs were used to find truffles, however the smell truffles emit is similar to a smell the male hog emits and the “Truffieres” have to fight with the hog to get it otherwise they will just eat. These days more and more dogs are being trained to find them instead for that very reason.
  • A truffle is found at the base of a tree growing off its roots anywhere from 6 inches to a foot underground, undetectable by the human nose.

 

Now I’m in the mood for a truffle hunt! Must add that one to the bucket lit.

Have you ever tried a truffle or some form of it? White or black? What is the most that you would ever spend on one food item?

 

Chocolate Truffle photo by Cloud

Black Truffle photo by Kjunstorm