The Fine Food Specialist Guide to Truffles
Here at Fine Food Specialist we take the greatest care in sourcing the finest produce from around the world to deliver straight to your door, and there is no exception when it comes to truffles. Our fine selection is imported from Italy, France, and even further afield for more niche varieties of truffles...
White truffles taste completely different to black truffles, they are still musky, but are generally more delicate on the palate. Some even describe the background flavour as slightly garlicky. The white truffles are best consumed as fresh as possible and will retain their flavour for a few days and up to a week if kept refrigerated in the correct environment. One main difference between the white and black, is that the former is best eaten raw rather than cooked. The white truffles are also rarer to find in the wild than the black truffle, thus creating a price difference. The truffles tend to be whitish or ochre in appearance and are typically smooth.
Honey: These truffles offer an unusual saccharine taste that complements desserts and even savoury dishes, adding an amazing depth to the flavour profile. Honey truffles typically grow in Hungary and Croatia.
Alba: The tuber magnatum pico is world-famous for its aroma and exquisite taste. Travellers come from far just to sample this amazing truffle grown in the Piedmont region of Italy, which is only available from October to December.
Spring white: This tuber can grow in Italy and Eastern Europe and is slightly smaller than the winter varieties, offering a much milder and delicate taste but with a strong aroma.
The remarkably heady scent of this delicacy is enough to awaken your taste buds. The flavour taps into all aspects of earthiness, delivering a complex profile that is woody, nutty, and so much more. You can eat the truffles raw, but they are also beautiful cooked or added to cooked dishes, in fact this can help enhance their flavour. 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. The black truffles also retain their flavour for longer, remaining fresh for two weeks. The colour and texture of black truffles can truly vary depending on region and growing conditions, some can be smooth or spiky, and the colour can range from brown to black.
Summer: The most common variety of truffle, these summer truffles are in season for the longest and are typically used in restaurant for this reason. They offer a rather delicate aroma and work well with infused oils and butter to enhance that lovely truffle flavour!
Autumn: These truffles offer a warm, nutty background flavour and have a rough, slightly lumpy texture. Shave over pastas or focaccia and use with infused oil. These also stay fresh for longer, and can be kept for up to two weeks.
Périgord: This French variety is much stronger in flavour and taste than the Autumn and Summer varieties, and is further enhance when cooked!
When is the best time of year to buy truffles?
White truffles: The first season starts mid-Jan and lasts until April, then the winter season begins in October and ends in January.
Black truffles: The summer season begins in May and ends in September, while the winter season lasts from November until March.
Where do truffles come from?
Truffles are mainly sourced from Italy but can be grown in many other countries such as Australia, France, and England depending on the season. The region of Piedmont is home to the famous Alba white truffle, but many Italian varieties are grown in the north or in central areas such as Tuscany and Marche. We only source wild truffles, which are found by specialist truffle hunters with trained dogs. Truffles have a symbiotic relationship with the trees near them as they grow just below or at surface level. There are several top-secret forest locations that the truffles grow in - as they require certain conditions to thrive. Each truffle species has a specific time of year that they flourish in and can vary according to climate and even proximity to the sea.
What are the most expensive truffles?
Italian white Alba are the most sought-after truffles in the world as they offer the most incredible scent and taste, they are only available during a certain time of year and have a distinct aroma that contrasts with the slightly more common black varieties. However it is truly up to personal taste which variety you may prefer, and how you wish to use them.
How to store truffles
It is best to eat your fresh truffles as soon as they arrive, but if you are ordering frozen or plan to eat them a few days later then we’ve got a few storage options for you. Gently wrap the truffles in kitchen paper and place in a Tupperware or glass jar – keep in a fridge drawer if possible, to avoid the cold spots. Another option is to keep the fresh truffles in a glass jar with arborio rice for 2-3 days, this will impart wonderful flavour for when you make risotto. You can also use this tip with fresh eggs! If you are buying frozen truffles or buying fresh to freeze, keep in a resealable bag, and, although some aroma may be lost, will last for up to 3 months.
How to clean truffles
When your truffles arrive, they may be covered in the original soil to preserve them. If you are planning on storing them for a few more days keep them wrapped in kitchen paper and place them in a jar or a container in the fridge. Replace the paper every few days, as this will prevent moisture getting to your truffles and ruining the flavour. When you are ready to eat the truffles, carefully brush the soil off and use water if necessary, but do not soak them.
How to cook with truffles
Truffles offer a strong flavour, so it is best to use a sharp shaving tool or knife to create thin slices. The key to enjoying truffles is pairing with simple and high-quality ingredients. A classic dish of handmade or fresh pasta tossed with cold butter, a generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano (plus reserve pasta water to create a glossy texture) works superbly with a fresh grating of truffles over the top – an extra drizzle of truffle oil won’t go amiss either. Truffles can equally complement a plate of scrambled eggs or a great cut of steak, or even a mushroom-based dish to create a heightened flavour profile.
The flavour of truffles is intrinsically related to the pungent aroma, which is what makes truffle oil such a fantastic product to cook with. We offer several varieties made from white and black truffles, which both offer something different! Our bottles of oil are a superb pantry staple and also make a wonderful gift! Truffle oil can be used in so many ways from levelling up mushroom dishes to adding some oomph to breads. Our Italian foccacia pairs very nicely with black truffle oil and a fresh grating of truffle, or you can drizzle some oil over a simple pasta dish! In addition to the truffle oils we also have a great selection of other exciting truffle-based or infused products such as butters, pastas, cheeses, and more! Have a browse around the site to find your new favourites and don't forget to check out the hampers and gifts section too!