A flavorsome and rare addition to your store cupboard, but why are they in such short supply? And how can you get hold of them? Read on and find out.
Truffles & Truffle Hunting - All you need to know
What is a truffle?
A truffle is a piece of fungus that grows entirely underground around the roots of a tree with which it enjoys a symbiotic relationship – the tree giving the truffle the necessary chemicals from sunlight and the truffle transferring nutrients it has taken from the soil. Truffles are unique in their taste; slightly garlicky, slightly musky, they are predominantly served uncooked (white truffles) or as a supplement to your meal, much like angostura bitters in a cocktail, they help to amplify existing flavours within the food.
As of now they are a rare, earthy delicacy, but were once widely available throughout France, it was only due to the systematic shelling of the French countryside during WWII that the majority of truffle forests were lost. As you can imagine, they no longer come cheap, at the low end of the UK market you can pick up a single 30g black truffle for around £35, with white truffles starting closer to the £60 mark. Having said this, supply must meet demand and as new truffle forests are being planted throughout Europe, we will likely see their prices decrease over the next decade or so.
So how, and where, does one Truffle Hunt? Unfortunately you have very little chance of locating these delicious delicacies without the aid of a canine friend, “truffle hounds” have been trained to follow the scent of these sought after food stuffs. One of the best spots for Truffle Hunting is Burgundy, France where you can join a pre-arranged hunting group, all you’ll need is a spade for the digging and a small basket for the fruits of your labour! In fact it is something that is often arranged aboard Hotel Barge L’Impressionniste , guests are able to partake in the truffle hunt, indulge in a post hunt tasting and should they wish, their onboard chef will be more than happy to incorporate the finds of the day into the evening meal.