The Truffle Boom: Exploring the most expensive ingredient in kitchens!
Love it or hate it, there is no denying that truffle flavoured foods have exploded in popularity over the last few years, but what exactly is the truffle trend and is it worth the hype? Let's delve into the world of arguably, the most expensive ingredient to exist in restaurants at the moment...
What are truffles?
They are a highly prized and sought-after type of fungi that grow underground. These fungi are known for their strong, distinctive aroma and flavor, which can be described as earthy, musky, and often likened to a combination of garlic, mushrooms, and other complex notes. There are several different species of truffles, but the most famous and expensive ones include black truffles (Tuber melanosporum) and white truffles (Tuber magnatum). These truffles are considered delicacies in many cuisines around the world and are especially popular in French and Italian cooking. But with prices reaching as high as £2,000 per kilo (yes, really!!) some would questions is the flavour really worth it?
It is not just the flavour that makes Truffles so expensive, they are incredibly difficult to cultivate and take years to develop. Truffle hunters and their trained dogs or pigs are used to locate these subterranean treasures, as their scent is similar to the natural sex pheromones of certain animals, making them easier to find. However, with only a few in the world with animals trained to this standard, it's no wonder the price is so high!
What can you use them in?
Fresh truffles are highly valued in gastronomy and are used sparingly due to their strong flavor. They are shaved or grated over various dishes, such as pasta, risotto, scrambled eggs, or even infused into oils and sauces, to impart their unique aroma and taste. The rarity and intense flavour of fresh truffles contribute to their reputation as a luxurious and gourmet ingredient, often commanding high prices in culinary markets.
How can you sell the truffle hype?
It is never going to be easy trying introducing an incredibly expensive ingredient into your menu, but with a few little tips you can jump on the truffle trend if you wish...
1 - Think carefully about the pairings; The aroma of truffle is SO powerful and distinctive that you can smell it a mile off. When paired with the right match it will really get the taste buds watering, a Truffle Cheese with a fig Chutney is always a winner to slowly convert a truffle hater!
2 - Look for authentic products; at the moment there are multiple copies of oils and pastes that claim to be truffle flavoured but a lot of them do not contain any fresh truffles. It is important to speak to producers and ensure they are using real truffles and try to stay away from any products that contain quantities of mushrooms or carrots to bulk them out. Always read the ingredients label to make sure you've got the real deal!
3 - A little goes a long way! Truffles have such a strong flavour that you really only need to add the tiniest little bit to any dish to make it taste incredible.
Truffle flavoured food is everywhere at the moment and we would LOVE to see some of your recipes and dishes if you'd like to share!
Georgina Williams, Marketing Assistant.