Truffle is an underground tuberous body that belongs to the genus of marsupial mushrooms. They grow in small groups of 3-7 mushrooms and have a fleshy structure and an unsightly appearance, behind which hides an exclusive taste. It is believed that having tasted a truffle once, its aroma will be imprinted in the memory for a lifetime.
What Does a Truffle Smell and Taste Like?
What do truffles taste and smell like? Truffles taste and smell can be compared to roasted walnuts with a pleasant earthy aftertaste with woody and nutty notes. True gourmets eat raw truffles or limit cooking to minimal heat treatment to experience the unique taste and aroma of the delicacy.
Are all truffles edible? Not all truffles are edible. The most valuable and rare varieties are French black, or Perigord, and white Piedmont truffles, which are found in Italy and France. Two types of truffles are popular in Italy —white, which is a rarer type, and black.
This type of truffle is considered rarer and, therefore, more valuable. The main places in Italy where the white truffle is mined are the Piedmont regions, especially in Lombardy, Torino and Alba, Molise, the Marche, and Abruzzo.
White truffles have a complex flavor and aroma profile – they combine garlicky, nutty, earthy, woody, and even slightly spicy notes reminiscent of shallots. To preserve its flavor, you should never subject this “fragile” delicacy to heat treatment.
Black truffles are commonly found in Italy, especially in Molise, Sicily, and Umbria. In Italy, you can find both winter and summer truffle varieties. Black truffles have a rough surface and resemble potatoes. Even though black truffles are expensive and rare, they are much more common than white truffles that are harder to cultivate.
How can you tell if a truffle is edible? Edible truffles weigh around 30-6- grams which is similar to the size of a small kiwi. However, sometimes truffles can weigh up to 1 kg. Truffles look like potatoes – it has a rough, granular surface and a marble-like flesh reminiscent of wagyu beef. Truffle flesh can be black, white, brownish, and slightly grey.
Those who have tasted truffles note that they have a strong odor reminiscent of algae. Truffles are harvested at night due to the increase in their aromatic properties in cool air. To harvest truffles, dogs and pigs are used, which can easily catch the elite smell of mushrooms.
Does truffle smell bad? Truffle may smell bad for people sensitive to an androstenone molecule. This molecule gives a musky aroma to the truffle, which may repel some people and make them think that the truffle smells bad.
Scientists at the University of California at Berkeley are trying to establish whether the different levels of perception of androstenone are associated with the individual characteristics of the noses or with the way the brain processes aroma signals, notes Berkeley scientist Noar Sobel.
Other substances are also involved in the formation of the peculiar aroma of truffles, but the reaction of people to this mushroom seems to reflect the reaction of people to androstenone. “If there were no androstenone in the truffles, there would be no mystery,” says Avery Gilbert, a consultant to the perfume industry.
Why Are Truffles So Special?
What is so special about truffles? Truffles are special not only because of their aroma and taste but also because of their useful properties. Truffles contain vitamins PP, B1, B2, and C. Truffles will be beneficial for people suffering from immune deficiency and impaired intestinal microflora. Riboflavin in truffles helps to cure gastritis, nervous system disorders, chronic colitis, and skin diseases.
Not so long ago, scientists proved that truffles are good for delaying skin aging. Cosmetologists are already producing a line of creams based on truffles to prevent wrinkles. Like most mushrooms, the calorie content is low and is just 24 kcal per 100 g. The truffle goes well with various products due to its bright taste.
How can you tell if it’s a truffle? What does a truffle look like in the wild? The surface of a truffle is black with a blue or brown tint, smooth, cracked, or covered with small bumps. On the cut, the color of the truffle resembles marble due to the presence of many mixed light and dark veins. Young truffles are distinguished by elastic white flesh with a yellowish or grayish tint, old ones — with brownish brown flesh and an increased number of white veins.
Truffles are very capricious to environmental conditions. Truffles grow in mixed forests with a predominance of oaks and beeches, which must be at least 15 years old. Truffles grow in soft soil, rich in minerals. The climate should be warm and humid, with abundant rainfall. At the same time, the truffle grows underground at a depth of 10–30 cm. Therefore, its reproduction depends on wild animals, which, eating it, spread spores.