When you think of items in this world that are of obscene value, you might think of gold, jewels, and diamonds. In the food world, it’s truffles. What is a truffle? No, not the chocolate kind your Nanna rolls in coconut at Christmas time; here we are talking about the fungal variety. At My Foodie Box, we have been getting on board with the truffle season this month to figure out what all the fuss is about.
Being a species of fungus and looking a lot like a clod of cow manure shouldn’t deter you from trying truffles, let’s not judge a book by it’s cover! Truffles are highly sought after and a relatively rare commodity that has both professional cooks and the home chef reaching for their wallets.
Alongside saffron, truffles are one of the most expensive ingredients on the planet. They fetch close to $2000 per kilo, making your $4 avocado look like chump change. So why the high price tag, and more to the point, is it worth it?
1. They are Ridiculously Hard to Grow
If your green thumb is only capable of keeping that plastic palm alive in your living room, spare a thought for the truffle farmers of the world. For starters, it can take 3-4 years for truffles to grow and form. If you’ve got the patience for that kind of wait, you’re halfway there. Truffle production also requires a specific climate with really hot summers and cold winters including frosts. This makes Tasmania and Manjimup pretty ideal regions here in Australia. Lastly, you’re going to require some luck and a few “Hail Mary’s” if you want to be a successful truffle producer. The fact is that truffles are rare and a bit ‘hit and miss’, and it’s not an exact science.
Lucky for us here at My Foodie Box, the Great Southern Truffle company is skilled in truffle production! Through clever processing techniques, the Great Southern Truffle company really has made the elusive truffle more accessible for us all. We want to offer our customers a chance to cook with truffles using easy to cook recipes and high quality, in-season produce. With that in mind, we have teamed up with the Great Southern Truffle company to celebrate our truffle month!
You can find delicious truffle-based recipes such as steak with truffle butter, ricotta gnocchi with truffle butter, truffled chicken and mushroom with polenta, or truffle mushroom risotto. Imagine any one of these tasty recipes in your next weekly meal delivery!
2. Sourcing Truffle Trees
Sourcing your meal kit delivery service, easy done! Sourcing truffle trees? Not so much. Oak or Hazelnut trees need to have their roots inoculated with a component of French black truffle to even have a chance of producing truffles. There are plant conditions and health to consider, the number and percentage of roots and even DNA verification involved. All of this, and there is still no guarantee that your tree will produce truffles. You can start to see why the hefty price tag is forming right? Producers like the Great Southern Truffle company invest time and money in a notoriously fickle crop. It makes sense that they’d want a decent return on that investment. At My Foodie Box, we are committed to supporting local growers and sourcing top quality produce for our customers, and that’s another reason why we are so keen to share truffle month with you!
3. Hide and Seek
Let’s say you’ve got your tree sorted and by some miracle you’ve figured out how to grow truffles, now you’ve got to find them! Unlike regular mushrooms, truffles grow underground, sometimes up to 20cm below the surface. Before you go swinging a pickaxe like a madman looking for the elusive black diamond, history has shown a more refined method of unearthing these little treasures. Pigs. Yep, pigs. Because of their keen sense of smell, pigs can sniff out the distinctive aroma of truffles even below the surface. But be warned, if you’re not quick to stop piggy midway through his dig, he will eat the truffle and all your hard work will have been for nothing. More reliable and less gutsy canine friends can also be trained to sniff out your hidden treasure. If you’d rather have a dose of truffle goodness without the hide and seek, remember you can find truffle inspired dishes in your fresh food delivery from My Foodie Box at no extra charge!
4. They Taste Amazing and it is Indescribable
Describing what truffles taste like is a little tricky. Not just because the taste is subjective, but because the aroma plays such an important role as well. There is a very pungent and earthy aroma to truffles. To quote Gareth Renowden from his book titled “The Truffle Book,” they smell like “old socks and sex.” Not exactly increasing my appetite I’m afraid Gareth!
Moving on to the tastebuds. Truffles are often described as having an intense mushroom flavour, but like many delicacies, it is an acquired taste that you do need to try for yourself. The fact that the flavour is so unique only adds to the allure and exclusivity of truffles; and like anything else that is unique, exclusive and rare, you’re going to pay a pretty penny for it.
The professional chefs and foodies believe that how truffles taste have the ability to elevate the flavour of whatever it’s served with. Steak becomes more robust and meaty, and other simple ingredients instantly taste more gourmet. Short of mortgaging your house, we’d say this is absolutely something you need to try once in your life. Invite a couple of friends, share a bottle of wine and let truffles transform your home-cooked meal, to a home chef meal.
At My Foodie Box, we are loving truffle month and it just wouldn’t be fair to keep this unique ingredient all to ourselves! If you’ve never had the chance to cook with truffles before, or you’re eager to try and answer the tricky ‘what do truffles taste like’ question, let us help you with a fresh dinner box delivery. For a short time only, try delicious truffle butter in your weekly food delivery at no extra charge.
Place order here to jump on board for the final week of My Foodie Box’s truffle season.