Mostly grown in France, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia, truffles are a very rare type of mushroom that is edible. In the Oregon and Washington states in the US, they are also collected. They grow underground among the roots of pine, oak, elm and willow trees, thus forming a symbiotic environmental relationship. The difficulty for them to be grown commercially or to be cost effective has made the price of truffles very high.
A chef’s favourite are the whole black winter ones made from the fresh Italian black truffles, when in season. They give a wonderful aroma to meat and poultry dishes as well as pasta. Fresh winter truffles season runs from the end of November to March. This perishable, because of limited availability can cost as much as £70 per ounce.
With the finest cheese from the Parmesan region you can fuse Italian truffles to make a creamy and buttery sauce. Another great delicacy is using 5% white truffle juice, water and white beans to make Cannelini Beans with Summer, White Truffles. By using only truffle juice it is a more cost effective way to flavour your dishes including appetizers and main courses. The juice changes the flavour of any dish in just seconds.
Even though truffles are seasonal and expensive and sometimes difficult to find, the truffle paste is intense, pungent and earthy making it a great match to blend with bases such as pastes, butters and creams.
This allows the chefs to give their cuisine the distinct taste of truffles at a more cost effective price. The greatest truffles in the world are considered to be the black perigord truffles of France. The rich butter that can be made from French truffles fuses the complex and intense flavours of the truffles to perfection.
You can add this butter to any variety of foods to make an average dish into an extraordinary one. There is very little needed since the taste is so intense and should be added at the end of the cooking. Chocolate truffles, even though they do not have any actual truffles in them, are aptly named by their appearance.