21 Things You May or May Not Know About Truffles

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  1. First and foremost, the truffles we are talking about are not chocolates, but there are chocolates called “truffles.” Chocolate “truffles” originated in France in 1895. As it turns out, they are so named due to their resemblance to the dark and rumpled “real” truffle.
  2. Truffles, a fabled aphrodisiac (although there is no scientific evidence to this claim), are also full of antioxidants and even add fiber, albeit a small amount, to your diet. Yes, they are good for you!
  3. The ancient Greeks believed that truffles were made when lightning hit damp soil.Pig Truffle Hunter
  4. Truffles produce a chemical which is quite similar to a sex pheromone found in the saliva of the male pig. This is why pigs are so good at truffle hunting.
  5. For the most part, pigs have been replaced with trained truffle dogs. The dogs are much less likely not to eat their find than the truffle sniffing swine.
  6. Various poetic epithets have been used to describe the truffle,  including: “a diamond of cookery,” “fairy apple,” “black queen,” “gem of poor lands,” “fragrant nugget” and “the black pearl.”WhiteTruffle
  7. The high quality white truffles are generally from Piedmont and Umbria, in Italy. Black truffles generally come from France, and grey truffles can be found in North America.
  8. Italians consider the white truffle to be superior in taste to the black truffle
  9. White truffles are more expensive than black and have a penetrating, faintly garlicky aroma, with an intense flavor.
  10. Black truffles are highly aromatic and very pungent.  They will even penetrate other items stored next to them including eggs, thereby changing the taste of the eggs.BlackPerigordTruffle
  11. Connoisseurs have been known to imply that the grey truffles found in North America are unworthy of their attention (although I am sure those in North America would disagree).
  12. There are many other different kinds of truffles. In fact, in England alone there are over 60 species of truffles although only a few are ever found and most are not edible.
  13. Large truffles are very rare, justifying their high price tag. Average truffles vary in size ranging from 10 grams (1/3 oz) to 100 grams (3 ½ oz) .Black Summer Truffle
  14. The average price of white truffles can range anywhere from $1,500 and upwards per pound.
  15. Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes reported: “European white truffles can sell for as much as $3,600 a pound, making them and their fellow fungi the most expensive food in the world. One two-pound truffle recently sold for more than $300,000″
  16. It is said that Urbani Tartufi, a family run company based in Spoleto, Italy, controls about three-quarters of the truffle trade.
  17. In December 2014 Sabatino Truffles of Umbria, Italy auctioned off a record setting 4.16 pound white truffle at Sotheby’s Auction House in NYC for $61,250. Based on previous truffles sold, that is a steal.  Check out why here.4.16 Pound Truffle
  18. It is said that a 4.16 pound truffle, slightly smaller than a football) would be large enough to feed between 300-400 people (depending on the recipe and their appetite).
  19. In a Wall Street Journal article, Katy McLaughlin states “that the reason that people either enjoy the taste of truffles or detest them depends on their sensitivity to a chemical component called androstenone. 25% of the population have no reaction at all to this chemical, which contributes to the fungus’ signature musky aroma – the aroma that makes female pigs go into the mating stance. Another 40% are keenly sensitive to it. They say it smells like rotten wood or sweat. That leaves 35% of the population that likes the smell – and makes them willing to pay to have it added to their food.”
  20. Truffles are the most profitable (legal) crop you can grow!
  21. Shami’s Gourmet has a number of different truffles and truffle alternatives at very reasonable prices, and with excellent customer service. Our truffle collection is here

Whew!  Well, that does it for Truffle Tuesday.  See you tomorrow for Wine Wednesday.  Bon Apetit!

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