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Everything You Need to Know About
Europe’s Most Fabulous Delicacy

After spending the summer in Provence I’ve had my share of shaved truffles over almost anything and everything. The French, the Italians and most food fanatics do love a truffle…and yet in this day and age you do not have to be at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, or some super-authentic hidden gem in Tuscany, to indulge in one of the earth’s most decadent treats.

Known as the “Diamond of the Kitchen,” truffles have a flavor unlike anything else. It can be described as garlicky, earthy, cheesy, surprising, pungent, irresistible and savory. Whatever it is, it’s so delightful that a few shavings can transform a simple dish of creamy pasta or scrambled eggs into the ultimate foodie fantasy.

The ancient Romans believed truffles were formed when lightening struck the earth, like a precious gift from Zeus. In reality the Universe is a tad more subtle about it. These subterranean “tubers” grow around the roots of trees, forming a symbiotic relationship with the plant.

Found in certain key forests of southern Europe, truffles are rare, difficult to spot and nearly impossible to cultivate. As you can imagine, sniffing out these wild treasures with trained dogs is something of an artisan business—and truffles are priced, per ounce, accordingly.

But don’t be intimidated. At the end of the day, truffles are not as exclusive as you might think. Yes they’re a luxury, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy them, whether it’s for a special celebration, an incredible night of fine dining, or elevating an everyday meal at home. Ahead, we invite you to explore the possibilities with confidence.

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The 4 Types of Truffles
White Truffle

Season: September -November
Price Per Pound: $800-$1,500

White truffles are the rarest, most prized and distinctly-flavored of them all. The best ones come from the Piedmont region of northern Italy, but they can be found in woods throughout the country and in pockets of Croatia, Slovenia and France. Exceptionally rare, large white truffles will regularly sell for as much $15,000—the record is $330,000 for a set of two.

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How to Enjoy
99% of people will tell you do not cook a white mushroom—they’re too precious and best enjoyed raw! And it’s mostly true—they are delicious raw, shaved ultra thin and sprinkled on top of whatever buttery, creamy goodness is for dinner. (In Piedmont during white truffle season, it’s totally normal to enjoy them shaved on every course.) However, a certain Italian food goddess known as Marcela Hazan (the Julia Child of Italy, FYI) has a rebelliously decadent recipe for a cooked White Truffles Tortino with Truffles and Parmesan floating around, in case you’re interested.

Black Winter Truffle

Season: November – February
Price Per Pound: $600-$1,200
The black truffle has the earthiest, most pungent flavor, with aromatic notes of cocoa and tannins. It’s sometimes called the Perigord truffle, after the Perigord region of France where it’s found in abundance. Wherever there are oak and hazelnut trees in western Europe however, there are truffles. They’ve also been harvested in North America and China.

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How to Enjoy
Of all the truffles, the black winter truffle holds up best to cooking. It is still delicious simply sliced paper thin on top of an entree. But to be adventurous, you can place shavings under the skin of a chicken, turkey or duck before roasting, layer them into a foie gras terrine, or use them in a wine or cream-based sauce.

Burgundy Truffle

Season: September – December
Price Per Pound: $150-$300
Even though it grows more widely than any truffle species, this truffle has held onto its affiliation with Burgundy in France. It’s much less rare and less intensely-flavored than the winter truffles, with a taste almost comparable to mushrooms. Expect earthy notes and a nuttiness that borders on caramel.

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How to Enjoy
Since it’s on the mild side of the truffle spectrum, enjoying the Burgundy truffle raw is the surest way to experience the full flavor. Shave it over cheesy pastas, risottos and creamy soups. Or, enjoy it with cheese as part of an haute charcuterie board!

Black Summer Truffle

Season: May – September
Price Per Pound: $150-$300
The black summer truffle is nearly indistinguishable from the Burgundy truffle, aside from seasonality. It has an even less intense aroma with notes of hazelnut and caramelized cream.

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How to Enjoy
Being the least expensive and most available of all the truffles, you can feel free to use this milder variety more liberally and more frequently. You can julienne and add to a salad, whip up some truffle garlic mashed potatoes, or shave on top of any dish as you would any of the truffles.

 

Bringing Truffles Home

Fresh truffles are delicate and won’t last long, but you’ll want to store them properly to preserve their flavor for a few days. First of all, don’t wash them till you’re ready to eat, as dirt keeps in the aroma. Wrap them in paper towels and then either aluminum foil, or put them in an airtight plastic container, and refrigerate.
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Truffle Butter & Oil

The year-round alternative to fresh truffles is to stock your fridge and pantry with a great truffle butter and truffle oil. These simple staples can make any old snack divine at a moment’s notice—but make sure you’re getting the good stuff. A lot of truffle oil is actually perfumed olive oil, so either read the label, or purchase from one of our trusted sources below.

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EASY TruffleD EGGS

An ingenious way to get the most out of your truffles is to store them with eggs. Put a couple of fully dry, shell-on raw eggs in a sealed container with the truffles and they will absorb the irresistible aroma, making for an elegant everyday breakfast. (Complete with fresh herbs and a sprinkling of shavings, of course.)
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Shop for Truffles

 

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Sliced to Perfection

The one kitchen tool you’ll need to enjoy truffles at home with anything, is a slicer. Our select is hand-crafted by skilled artisans in Milan and finished with a glimmering mother of pearl handle.
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Mother of Pearl Slicer
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CEDES MILANO
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