Worth its weight in gold (more or less) and a gem amongst fungi, the truffle (mushroom, not chocolate) awakens taste buds and adds a visually beautiful touch to dishes.
Humble beginnings… and a pig!
A precious, delicate, and oh-so-luxurious delight, the truffle mushroom starts life under the roots of trees known as truffle oaks. It is a sought-after ingredient, and it’s only thanks to our canine and pig friends that we can actually find them. Only they have a sense of smell keen enough to find them out. Truffle hunters’ best friends are their trusty trained dogs or pigs whose mission is to dig up the treasure, hidden beneath the ground amongst the tree roots. But they must be prompt the illusive fungus only grows between mid-December and June.
Provence, 80% of French truffles
The hunt for this Holy Grail of the gourmet world takes place in the south west and east of France, but more particularly in Provence, where 80% of French truffles are produced. Amongst the 30 kinds of truffle that grow in France, the biggest star of them all is the black truffle. At first glance, this gift of nature – the only luxury item to be sold in its natural state - may seem rustic, but inside a blended maze of brown and white filaments produce a fine peppery taste, complete with earthy scents of the undergrowth.
Savoury or sweet
With such a powerful aroma, this humble looking fungus only takes a pinch to truly transform a dish. Truffles can be eaten raw - finely sliced and delicately placed on vegetables (leeks, celery, and endives for example), or simply placed on a slice of bread with some olive oil. When used in cooking, the truffle presents a whole world of culinary discoveries: as a starter, main meal or dessert.
All year round truffle oils, creams, and mustards perfectly preserve the truffle flavour, allowing us to make the most of this delicacy even when it’s not in season.
Fun fact: Two-thirds of the world’s truffles come from France!