The Mediterranean delicacy known as a truffle is a highly sought after food in upscale restaurants and has been called the diamond of the kitchen. If you want to know what does truffle taste like, read on to learn more about this popular fungus. The truffle written about here refers to the fruiting body of the underground tuber known as the ascomycete fungus. This is entirely different from the chocolate treat known as a truffle. They share some similarities, but they are quite different!
What Do Truffles Look Like
There are many varieties of truffle that grow. When learning what do truffles look like, the two that are most recognized are white truffles and black truffles. The name gives a slight hint as to how they look, but they each have a unique appearance.
White truffles are more of a pale yellow or light brown on the outside. At first glance it may be mistaken for a dusty, rough-skinned potato. The interior of a white truffle is where it gets its name from. Although some parts of the inside are brown, it generally has a white marbling similar to a shelled walnut.
Black truffles are very dark in color, close enough to black to earn their name. A black truffle could easily be passed over as a ball of dirt or lump of excrement. The outside is textured in a rough granular manner. The inside of a black truffle is predominantly black with miniscule white veins running through it.
What Does Truffle Smell Like
Truffles may differ in presentation, but they generally have a common scent. When deciding what does truffle smell like, remember that a truffle is a fungus. As a result there are hints of mushroom in the smell. They grow underground on the roots of a tree and this gives them a rich earthy aroma. Many people indicate that it has a garlicky odor. Finally, truffle has an intoxicating musky presence when it is sniffed. This musky odor can be attributed to a substance known as androstenone. Male pigs produce this hormone as well, and in the past female pigs were used to sniff out truffles. Nowadays, most people use dogs because they are less likely to eat what they find. Altogether, this unique scent profile contributes to the flavor it adds to the dishes it is in.
What Does Truffle Taste Like
If you have tasted different mushrooms, you will identify that they have a common flavor regardless of individual strength. This is present in truffle taste as well but that is just the beginning. As it is noticeable in the smell, the earthy flavor can be tasted too. Some people say it adds a tinge of garlic to their food. It has also been described as nutty and oaky. However, they can also taste sweet and savory. Some of this depends on the type of truffle you are eating, but it also is based on your personal perception of what you are experiencing.
The texture of truffle would be somewhat spongy like a mushroom. Truffles are rarely consumed as a whole so many people do not notice this. It is often shaved over or into a dish being prepared by a chef. It can also be made into a base and used in a sauce or soup, and even into ice cream.
You may have heard of truffle oil or truffle butter before, both of which are often available commercially. If you have never tasted truffle before these are a good introduction. However, you will want to taste the real thing when you get the opportunity.
Where Do Truffles Grow
If you want to understand truffles, it helps if you can answer the question, “Where do truffles grow?” There are specific circumstances under which they grow, which is a huge contributor to the flavor. They are also particular to certain parts of the world, which makes them rare and expensive.
Truffles are found in the forests of their respective regions around the globe. Trained dogs are often used to sniff them out. This is necessary because they grow underground the base of trees on the root, and their presence is not obvious to the eye. Truffles share a symbiotic relationship with the tree. As the tree feeds glucose to the truffles through their roots, the truffles assist the tree in obtaining phosphorus from the soil. Due to the specific conditions that truffles need to grow, they are almost always harvested from the wild and are difficult to domesticate.
White truffles are from the country of Italy. They are known as Alba truffles because they are from the Piedmont region near the city of Alba. In Italian, they are named trifola d’Alba Madonna (“Truffle of the White Madonna”).
The black truffle is more formally named the black Périgord truffle. As you may have guessed, it is from the Périgord region of France. Black truffles are quite valuable commercially, second only to white truffles.
Truffles do grow in other parts of the world as well. The Burgundy truffle, or black summer truffle, can be found across Europe. In the Pacific Northwest of the United States there are several species of truffle. The most common one is the Oregon black truffle. There is also the Oregon spring white truffle, the Oregon winter white truffle, and the Oregon brown truffle.
Truffles are costly and hard to find, but they are highly valued in the culinary world. It is no wonder that people want to know, “What does truffle taste like?” It is possible to experience them many ways, but the best one is to have them prepared by a well-trained chef.