An unsightly mushroom with a pungent aroma, hiding in the ground, seems to have done everything possible to go unnoticed by people. But gourmets are not looking for easy ways. Today, the finest white truffles are sold for the price of gold. While black truffles are called “black diamonds”. But which is better — white truffle or black? Let’s find out.
What is better white truffle or black? White truffle is better than black because of its aroma and seasonality. White truffle is the most refined and aromatic mushroom. Its fans often say that they “eat the smell” because the powerful aroma and taste are so tightly and intricately interconnected that it is almost impossible to separate one from the other.
Another property of the white truffle, which contributed to its transformation into a gastronomic rarity, is its seasonality. Of course, at any time of the year, restaurateurs can offer you dishes with white truffles, where canned or frozen mushrooms will be used in one way or another. But fresh white truffle is the uncrowned king of mushrooms.
What is the difference between black and white truffles? Black truffles grow in the ground near oaks and birches. Black-brown on the outside, these mushrooms are red-brown on the inside. White truffles are similar to Jerusalem artichoke, has a brown peel and light pulp with red veins. White truffles have an even more pronounced aroma than black ones.
Only 10% of harvested truffles are sold individually. Other truffles are used for the production of oils, sauces, and creams. 50% of the world’s truffle harvest is eaten in France. And the largest truffle supplier in the world is China, where truffles are grown in artificial conditions.
Do white and black truffles taste the same? No, white and black truffles taste differently. Black truffle has a stronger taste. Black truffle is widely used to add flavoring sauces, liver purees, and delicious baked goods. While white truffle has a subtle taste and aroma of garlic. These truffles are eaten raw and used in risotto, pasta, broth, egg dishes, tomato containers, risotto, and mozzarella cheese.
Black truffles are distinguished by a strong, persistent, distinctive, and very distinct aroma and a slightly nutty taste. White truffle is a rarer species than black, therefore it is most valued among mushrooms. So, yes, white truffles are better than black.
Are white truffles more expensive than black? White truffle is a rarer species, therefore it is more expensive and appreciated. Its aroma is brighter, musky, with a tart nutty note. White truffle is the most expensive type of delicious mushroom — its price reaches at least $ 4,000 per kilogram, while black truffle costs 1200$ per kilogram, on average.
There are many varieties of truffles, but the most popular and expensive ones are black from French Perigord and white from Italian Umbria. The world’s most expensive white truffle was auctioned for $ 208,000 and served at a banquet in Hong Kong.
White truffles are available from October to December, especially in the market for a white truffle from the Piedmont region of Italy. Its fruiting body is off-white or beige and has a more pronounced flavor and aroma than other truffles.
Black Winter Truffle Grows under an oak tree, less often next to other deciduous trees. Most common in France. The mushroom is black or dark brown on the outside with dark pulp with light veins. The harvest season is from December to March. This truffle has a distinct nutty flavor. Its price is about $ 1,200 per kilogram.
Why are truffles so expensive? Here are the reasons why truffles are so expensive:
- Truffles have a unique aroma. An amazing aroma, which, like a drug, attracts many people to itself.
- Truffles are in high demand. Demand far exceeds supply in years with poor precipitation. In dry years (for example, 2012) the price for a white truffle reached € 9000 per kilogram.
- Truffles require specific conditions. Truffles grow underground only in rare places with specific soil chemistry, rainfall, and temperature changes. And only with certain trees for symbiosis, and it is quite difficult to find them.
- It takes many years to train dogs to find truffles.
- Truffles are hard to find. Truffle hunters work long hours searching at dawn in the forest in the autumn cold with high humidity. Many hunters have back problems.
- Truffles take a long time to grow. Valuable types of truffles ripen only in a short season (3 months a year), not every year is favorable for them. And it takes a long time for them to ripen.
- Truffles have a complicated life cycle. Once mined from the ground, they begin to lose water, leading to weight loss. And although effective conservation methods have been developed, fresh truffles become inedible after a couple of weeks.
- Like other delicacies (caviar, for example), a truffle is a luxury item, which is an indicator of status.
No chef in the world cooks just truffles as the main dish. Chefs do not use more truffles than they use herbs and spices. Also, white truffles are usually subjected to minimal heat treatment, which weakens more delicate aromas and tastes than black ones. And since the aroma of white truffles is strongest when they are just sliced, they are usually just spread out in freshly sliced thin slices on the finished dish.
Truffles are added to risotto, tagliatelle pasta, omelet, and carpaccio. The best meals for white truffles are pasta, eggs, white meat (chicken, turkey, and quail), risotto, parmesan and romano cheeses, slightly bitter salads (for example, Frize), bresaola and prosciutto, potatoes, and wild boar.
Truffles are a product of the “extra” price category for three reasons, which are the peculiarities of growth, short shelf life, and, of course, taste. Black and white truffles ripen in winter, white truffles from October to December, and black ones in January-February, and it takes much more time and effort to collect these mushrooms.
Truffles are very hard to find. People alone have almost zero chance to find truffles without the help of dogs and pigs. Traditionally, the search for the mushroom was carried out by pigs who perfectly smell its smell and love the taste. Unfortunately, pigs are also very voracious animals, which also get tired quickly and damage the soil of the “mushroom” grove with their hooves.
Therefore, not so long ago, dogs began to be attracted everywhere in the search for mushrooms. Dogs have to be trained from an early age. There are few trained dogs, each with a special chip under the shoulder blade. The price of such a dog reaches $ 3,000.
The unique culinary properties of truffles have long been known. They are suitable both for making pies, sauces, and pie fillings and as an addition to poultry and seafood dishes. Sometimes they can be served as a separate dish. Truffles can be harvested for future use by freezing or canning in high-quality cognac.
The truffle contains vegetable proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins B, PP, and C, various minerals, antioxidants, pheromones, which help to improve the emotional state of a person, and a large amount of fiber. Truffle juice is good for some eye diseases, and the pulp of the mushroom brings relief to people suffering from gout. There are no special contraindications for eating these mushrooms, the main condition is the freshness of the mushroom and the absence of allergic reactions to penicillin in humans.