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In Season in Autumn: Truffles

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Jump to:-    Types of Truffles  |   Buying & Storing  Truffles  |   Preparing and cooking  Truffles  |   Editor's Choice Top 3  Autumn Truffles Recipes



What are Truffles?


Fresh Truffles are a fungi, like mushrooms, but which grow under ground. However, because they  only grow  in particular conditions, i.e. next to the roots of certain hardwood trees such as oak, they are relatively rare and highly seasonal making them one of the most expensive foods in the world.  


Depending on the type, they are in season from October to March. Harvesting truffles is labour intensive and usually requires the aid of a specially trained dog or female pig (truffles give off an aroma similar to sexual hormones, to which female pigs are attracted.



Types of Truffles


There  are  about 70 different types of truffles globally some of which are better than others. The colours range from black  to brown, grey to white with sized from 3 to 5cm in diameter. Many believe the best truffles are to be found in Italy and France,  of which the most popular or well known  varieties are the White Italian Truffle and the Black Perigord Truffle. The tastes differ in that the White Truffle has a creamy texture and a clean taste whereas the Black Truffle has a rich earthy flavor reminiscent of nuts and mushrooms and an altogether more pungent aroma.



Buying and storing fresh Truffles


Choose cleaned firm specimens with no soft spots or mold. White truffles should smell earthy and black truffles should have a more pungent smell. Neither should ever smell of ammonia. Donít buy specimens which are slimy, or spongy. 


Truffles should be eaten at the peak of ripeness (unripe truffles don't have so much flavour) and can be kept wrapped in kitchen paper or a paper bag in the fridge to ensure that they do not rot from too much moisture. They can also be kept in a sealed jar with a few raw eggs which will absorb the aroma through their porous shells.

Fresh Truffles should be consumed within 3 days however they can be frozen. Freeze in small quantities as they shouldn't be re-frozen once defrosted. - great drizzled over simply grilled fish. 


Preparing  and Cooking fresh Truffles


Black truffles are often peeled however white truffles are usually just wiped clean.   Never slice,  grate or otherwise cut truffles until you are ready to use them.


When used in recipes,  truffles should be very thinly sliced, preferably using a mandolin or a special truffle shaver, or even grated. In general, use white truffles for dishes using eggs, pasta, risotto, veal and seafood and Black Truffles with meat and poultry dishes.  For the best flavour, black truffles should be added as near to the end of cooking time as possible. White truffles aren't generally cooked at all.

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Editor's Choice:  Top 3 Autumn Season Truffles Recipes



Tagliatelle with White Truffles

A simple to prepare and very quick main course dish using uncooked finely shaved white truffles.




Tournedos Rossini

This classic French recipe marries the finest of ingredients including beef, foie gras, Madeira and black truffles to create a rich and very special dish.




Truffle and Chive Risotto

This recipes has a double hit of truffle, using both fresh and truffle oil. Choose white truffles for this wonderful Italian risotto.



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