This might be one of the best truffle seasons ever. So, what is the secret of this food? After a wet summer, hunters are expecting a bumper crop of these rare, edible fungi. In fact, truffle-hunting is booming with lots of amateur hunters booking on courses to learn how to find their own gems of the seasonal table. The English Truffle Company’s training sessions are fully booked up until January, when the season ends.
Truffles aren’t as expensive as gold – but few other foods match their cost kilo for kilo. The market rate for white truffles ranges up to £5,000 a kilo. Black truffles are cheaper at a comparatively cheap £1,300 a kilo.
One of the reasons for them being so expensive, it that they are almost impossible to cultivate. Their fungal filaments spread out under the ground wherever they like and cannot be predicted with much certainty. Harvesting them therefore requires expertly trained dogs. Pigs were used but they kept eating the truffles, whereas dogs are happy to give them up in exchange for a sausage.
White truffles taste completely different to black truffles, they are still musky, but are generally more delicate on the palate.
The flavour of black truffles is rather different to the white truffle, it is strongly earthy with a garlicky, nutty, or even sweet taste. The aroma is also slightly milder than the white, with notes such as chocolate and hazelnut.
There are a lot of ideas for how to include this most seasonal of foods into your cooking.
James Martin favours a Truffle Linguini with Fillet Steak and Wild Mushrooms This dish of Truffle Linguini with Fillet Steak and Wild Mushrooms draws inspiration from two countries famous for their food...France and Italy! You just can't wrong!
Gordon Ramsey has a Truffle Brie Mashed Potato made with desire potatoes, double cream and grated black truffle.
Andy McLeish from Great British Chefs, serves up a stunning Côte de boeuf with black truffle and Parmesan gratin – a truly decadent dish for when you fancy pushing the boat out.
And if you want that very special truffle flavour but don’t feel like going truffle hunting on your own – or taking out a loan to buy a truffle – why not try our Tartufi Oranic White Truffle Oil which can be used over mushroom risottos, cold chicken, dripped into fresh mayonnaise, in mashed potatoes...the list is endless. Alternatively try the Tartufi Organic Black Truffle Oil - this organic black truffle oil is made using black summer truffles, and is intense and fragrant. Pair with hearty meat dishes or mushroom ragu.
And an even easier option is the Sublime Truffle, Parmesan & Black Pepper Butter - perfect with your steak of choice.