Black truffles are a rare delicacy. Have you ever wondered why they're so expensive? Black truffles can only be found underground, firmly attached to the roots of a tree. They are considered a type of mushroom, but experts say they're a cross between a fungus and a tuber.
Truffles are hard to find because farmers have to use pigs or trained dogs, specifically their keen sense of smell, to find where the truffles are buried. That's why they're so rare! Unlike other mushrooms, they grow beneath the soil. In fact, they're such a desired commodity that even today.
Despite their rarity, black truffles can be found all over the world. Each type can be harvested only during particular seasons, depending on where they're grown. They all have a distinct aroma and flavor, some are even more intense than others.
Different types of black truffles in the world
The Australian black truffle
The Australian black truffle exhibits the type of aroma and taste that might put the other truffles to shame. Most truffles are produced in France and their quality is similar to the ones grown in Australia. However, the Australian black truffles are more affordable, which makes it a good first choice if you're looking to try out this black truffle for yourself. They are available during the country's colder months: May, June, and July.
Black Summer Truffle
Another type of black truffle that can be harvested from May to September is the black summer truffle. These truffles can be found in Italy and are usually farmed and harvested in the Italian suburbs. They have a subtle earthy flavor and aroma, perfect for all kinds of savory dishes like meat and fish, soups, pasta, and salads.
Brumale truffles, on the other hand, are harvested from November to March during the winter, which is why they're also called the black winter truffle. They are native to Southern Europe, particularly in Spain. It has a musky and somewhat woody aroma and delivers a strong taste. They're mainly eaten raw in salads, so if you want something that will leave a lasting impression, the Brumale truffle won't disappoint.
Another European native truffle is the Burgundy truffle, which is also known as the autumn truffle. These truffles are foraged during the fall season, from September to late December in France and Italy. They taste milder than the black winter truffle and have an aroma similar to hazelnut and chocolate.
The Perigord black truffle
The Perigord black truffle is a type of black winter truffle and is the finest and probably the most expensive truffle you can find. They are mainly harvested in the south of France from November to March. It has a pleasing, almost irresistible aroma, and its taste is similar to that of sweet dried fruit, which leaves a heavenly aftertaste that lasts long after you've eaten.
Chinese black truffle
The most affordable black truffle you can buy is the Chinese black truffle. They are abundant in China. They are similar to the more expensive Perigord truffles only in terms of appearance.
Spanish black truffle
In the hills of east-central Spain, you'll find another prized black truffle aptly called the Spanish black truffle. These truffles are similar to the Perigord in quality but deliver a unique flavor and scent. It has a strong, pungent aroma with a taste that's robust and savory. They are harvested during the winter months from November to March.
Last, but not least is the Tuscan truffle, harvested in Italy from late winter to spring (January to April). It has a nutty aroma and a sharp, unmistakable taste when eaten raw, so best to heat it first with some butter and oil. It's mainly used to make our favorite truffle oil and truffle paste.
Black truffles are considered black gold to both chefs and connoisseurs alike because of their unique and sought-after aroma and taste. They are best paired with creamy and savory European dishes and a great addition to almost any meal. These underground mushrooms are some of the best natural products that mother nature has to offer, so if you come across one of these in the store or during your travels, make sure to try one for yourself.