It is said that these precious nuggets used to reach gods and witches, while today most of them end up in gourmet specialities for ‘ordinary mortals’.
Truffles are a variety of edible fungi growing underground, mostly besides roots of trees such as oak, beech, poplar, willow and elm. They are shaped like tubers and they are often compared with potatoes when it comes to their appearance. They usually grow from the size of a cherry up to the size of an apple, but sometimes significantly bigger specimens are found (like the famous Zigante Millenium weighing 1310 g). In the culinary world the most popular are the two basic varieties: black and white truffle.
Truffles are picked solely after they are ripe. The search or the so called hunting is led by a professional truffle hunter, while the truffles are found by trained dogs with a subtle sense of smell. In the past this was done by pigs, but nowadays this is rare. Namely, even though pigs are very skilled in finding truffles, all they find they often eat by themselves.
Truffles can also be described as gourmet fungi because their fragrance is tart, intensive, earthy securing the food a unique flavour. They are used in small quantities which are still sufficient to turn every dish into a gourmet experience. It is not easy do describe the truffles aroma, and thus associations vary from “forest floor” and “chocolate and soil mix” to “old socks” and they are often accompanied with the epithet of eroticism. Regardless of the varying comments, the pursuit for truffles is always multiply higher than the demand, and thus the price can reach incredible 2000 Euro per kilogram