Truffles have always been revered and date as far back as 1600 B.C. These special funghi are known as the “diamonds of the earth.”
There are over 200 species of truffles. The most revered truffles are the Aestivum Vitt., Uncinatum, Magnatum Pico, and Melanosporum.
Chocolate Truffles are named after the mushroom because of their resemblance.
Truffles are known for their aphrodisiac properties due to a pheromone they possess. This pheromone strongly attracts pigs, the original truffle hunters.
How long do truffles last?
Truffles are living organisms. They have a short shelf life. It is best to consume immediately. The Black Summer, Burgundy, and Black Winter have a longer shelf life (5-7 days) than the White Truffle (2-3 days).
What do truffles pair well with?
They best pair with dishes that are more subtle in flavor to allow for the truffles to shine. Traditional dishes like eggs, pasta, and risotto are most common and popular offerings. In today’s culinary world, creativity with truffles is at an all time high, with pairings found in sushi, ramen, steaks, and even desserts.
How Do Truffles Grow?
All truffles grow underground, attached to the roots of trees. They live in a symbiotic relationship with the roots of certain living trees making it difficult to find. The most popular trees are Hazelnut, Oak, and Poplar. Because they grow underground a dog’s strong sense of smell is necessary.
How Do I Store Fresh Truffles?
To ensure the best outcome of your truffle dish, properly caring for them beforehand is essential. Store truffles individually in paper towels and place them into a sealed container. Each day, re-wrap in new paper towels, to keep the truffles dry. If your truffles are slightly older, you may store in rice to draw out excess moisture.
Why are truffles so expensive?
There are various factors that make truffles expensive. First, it takes a perfect storm for them to grow: spores have to find their way to the habitable tree’s roots, weather has to cooperate and the PH level of the soil has to be right. Second, because truffles grow underground, the only way they’re able to be detected is by a dog’s strong sense of smell. And third, truffles have a very short shelf life and imported from across the world, so logistics and expedited shipping are taken into account for the final price.
Remove your truffles out of the package as soon as you receive them. If you are not using the truffles immediately: wrap each one individually in a dry paper towel, place them in an air-tight container (glass jar or Tupperware) and store in the refrigerator. Each day, if you still have truffles, replace the paper towel every morning, to ensure that the truffles are continuously wrapped in a dry paper towel. You will notice that overnight, your truffles will release moisture, causing the paper towels to dampen. Truffles do not do well with moisture, as it will cause them to age quickly. Truffles will stay fresh for several days if you follow this method. When using truffles, make sure to not expose truffles to air for long periods of time.
FUN STORING TIPS
Eggs: Store unwrapped truffles in a sealed container with eggs overnight. Eggs have a porous shell and will take on the aroma of the truffles.
Rice/Potatoes: Store unwrapped truffles in a sealed container with rice or potatoes overnight. They will take on the aroma of the truffles.
Truffles are typically used as a finishing touch to a dish. You can shave or grate truffles onto a dish when it’s ready to serve. Some species can handle light cooking, but be very careful, as heat can destroy the flavor and aroma of the truffles. Truffles do not need to be peeled. Any leftover pieces and crumbs should still be utilized- they can be minced and folded into butter, stored into the freezer for up to six months.
It is important to let the truffles shine when adding them to a dish. Therefore, truffles are best paired with foods with light or fatty flavors. Traditional pizza, pasta, and risottos are always a perfect way to showcase truffles, but one can also incorporate truffles onto a variety of dishes: eggs, meats, seafood – even ice cream! It is best to stay away from foods that are spicy or acidic, as this will overshadow the truffle flavor.
ALL ABOUT TRUFFLES
Sabatino Tartufi is the world’s largest truffle manufacturer. The family-owned company has been in business for over 110 years and has been cultivating and distributing the highest quality truffles. Sabatino Tartufi produces, imports, manufactures and distributes authentic truffle products in their 60,000 sq ft facility located in West Haven, CT.
An hour before the sun rises; Renzo and his dogs Frida, Rocco, and Ringo begin their journey deep into the forests to hunt for one of the world’s most precious ingredients- truffles.
The forest is quiet, completely serene. The only sounds heard are the slight rustling of trees from the wind and birds, and the crunching sticks and leaves as Renzo and his dogs trek through.
The forest is dark at this hour, barely any light passing through the trees. The world has not woken up yet, and Renzo and his dogs get a head start.
Legally, a truffle hunter has only 2 hours to hunt for truffles. They begin an hour before the sun rises, and in these short hours, the dogs have to be completely focused and diligent.
Renzo grew up truffle hunting- his father and grandfather were truffle hunters. This isn’t a job, but a way of life. This is the life Renzo knows and loves. As a young boy, Renzo would walk through the forests with his father, learning the ways from a master truffle hunter.
Renzo, like many other truffle hunters, love the white truffle season. This is the most prestigious truffle, which makes the game of hunting all the more fun. There is more excitement in the air, and if you pay close attention, you can smell a light touch of garlic aroma permeating through the forest as the white truffles become ripe and ready to eat.
All of Renzo’s childhood pets were dogs – dogs with a duty. Every dog in the home was for the purpose of truffle hunting. He grew up with many, and many breeds. The most popular is the Lagotto Romagnolo, but Pointers and Braccos are desired breeds as well.
These dogs have a long family lineage of truffle hunting. A hunter invests his time, money, energy, and love into creating the best truffle-seeking dogs. Although these dogs come from strong family lines, it does not necessarily mean they will become a good truffle seeker.
These dogs begin their training just a few months after they are born. They follow their parents through the forest, to learn the ways of the truffle hunt. They witness the bond between hunter and dog, and the ultimate joy of finding these hidden treasures. Typically, the work span for an established truffle-seeking dog is between 2-8 years of age.
Renzo’s 3 dogs vary in age, and although each dog is a skilled hunter, they all have completely different personalities. Frida, a Lagotto Romagnolo, is 5 years old. She is very calm compared to her brothers, and frequently wags her tail to show her excitement.
Rocco, a Pointer, is almost 4 years old. He loves to jump. When he’s excited, he will jump so high, you can almost look him straight in the eye!
And then there’s Ringo. Ringo, a Pointer, is almost 10 years old. He will do just about anything for a good belly rub. Although he has passed the typical age of hunting, he is still very skilled and determined. However, in the recent months, he has become slightly deaf.
When a dog finds a truffle, there is a command yelled and the dog knows to stop digging, as to not ruin the exterior of the truffle. However, in Ringo’s case, Renzo walks up close to him, bends down, and lifts up his ear. He speaks into his ear, and tells his friend that he can stop digging.
These dogs work very hard, and after their focused hunt, they go home and relax. Their time is always spent with the truffle hunter and his family. They are like any other dogs, and love to play fetch and chew on delicious snacks and toys. Most of the time they are sleeping, as they need to rest up for their arduous duties as truffle seekers.