A Guide To Truffles, The Funkiest Of The Fungi by gothamist

If I had a truffle… If I had a truffle, I would shave it over fresh baked sourdough toast drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fleur de sel.  If I had a truffle, I would shave it over a steaming bowl of Isa Chandra’s “Glam Chowder.”  If I had a truffle, I would have friends over EVERY day to have a _________________ with truffles dinner.

But, alas… I do not have a truffle.

Ok, so, instead, I DO use truffle oil… because I’m a GRAD STUDENT… and, yes, I know what truffle oil is… I do… If I didn’t, I surely got suspicious when I saw it in Trader Joe’s (no disrespect TJs, but let’s be real) and on more folks’ french fries than I could count.  But, as with any rage about an ingredient, so few people really understand what a truffle is or why they should even eat it.  Anyway, here’s a great article from gothamist that breaks it ALL down.

A Guide To Truffles, The Funkiest Of The Fungi

By Nell Casey
October 14, 2013

Black truffle.  Image courtesy of TheItalianRetreat
Black truffle. Image courtesy of TheItalianRetreat

Truffles, truffles, truffles—they’re all over the foodiot blogs and local chefs have been worked into a tizzy over these odd-looking little lumps. With autumn comes truffle season, which means you’ll be seeing the funky fungi pop up on menus all over the place, demanding that you part with serious cash for a shower of shavings on top of your agnolotti. “Aren’t truffles just some bourgey ingredient chefs like to tack on to dishes to jack up the price?” skeptics will ask. You’ll be tempted to listen to them, but don’t. Yes, truffles can be expensive, but they are also really, really delicious and—if you known the right way to go about it—very much worth your money.

We’ve put together a little Truffle FAQ for anyone wanting to know what all the fuss is about and, hopefully, also interested in seeking out some truffles of their own.

So aren’t truffles really just absurdly priced mushrooms? In a sense, yes. Truffles are a type of fungus that grows on the roots of trees like oaks and beeches, drawing nutrients from the tree and developing its musky flavor. In certain parts of the world truffles are cultivated in special fields, though for many purists they’re still foraged in the wild, which is why you’re going to be paying hundreds of dollars for something that most closely resembles a rock and kind of smells a little funky. Originally, foragers used pigs to scout out the goods, though their eagerness to eat the truffle has caused many regions to switch to using dogs. In Italy, it’s actually against the law to use pigs to hunt truffles.

Read the rest, here.


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