Sunday, 17 October 2010

The WHITE and BLACK gold

In the world of gourmet foods, there is one treasure that is worth its weight in gold. The 18-th century gastronome Brillat-Savarin called the truffles “the diamond of the kitchen”. Truffles or Tartufi in Italian, is a rare, edible mushroom that is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.
Requiring climates with mild weather changes, truffles grow in a limited number of places including France, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. In Italy “Tartufi” are especially famous and present in Piemonte, Umbria and Marche. Despite their price they are a key ingredient in local dishes such as pasta, eggs, cheese, oil and many more.

All type of truffles are related to mushrooms and are known as hypogenus fungi. Unlike mushrooms, truffles never emerge from the surface: they are formed below the ground close to a tree such as oak, willow and linden. For this reason for the truffle harvesting well trained dogs or pigs are used.

The "black truffle" can be found in late autumn and winter, reaching 7 cm in diameter and weighing up to 100 g. As well during the summer, with a lower quality and taste.
The “white truffle”(that is as expensive as gold) comes from the area of Piedmont region in northern Italy and, most famously in the countryside around the city of Alba. They can reach 12cm diameter and 500 g, though are usually much smaller. The white truffle can be found as well in the Marche region, although not as popular internationally as his Alba cousin.

The record price paid for a single white truffle was set in December 2007, when Macau casino owner Stanley Ho paid US $ 330,000 (£165,00) for a specimen weighing 1,5 kg. The white truffle is never cooked and only served fresh; it is far to delicate for cooking, although can be preserved or infused in olive oil. Instead is shaved raw over cold or warm dishes often to enhance the favours and aroma. Its great combination with pasta, salads or eggs.
Generally speaking when using truffle for cooking is enough to follow some basic principles and the truffle will do the rest to make your dish tasting amazing:
1. the truffle is king: never combine truffle with any other ingredients with strong flavours
2.Fat is not bad: Fats work perfectly with truffles and help enhancing all the flavor.
3. Shave, Sliver and Slice: Always maximize the truffle flavour using the least amount of the ingredient as possible. So always slice into thin parts without wasting not even a gram.
4. Pasta and Rice: both of them match really well with the diamond of the kitchen.

Note that all the pictures have been sourced from google images. I am working hard to get my own photographic material

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