FRESH TRUFFLES 101
🧐 HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR FRESH TRUFFLES
Owning and caring for a beautiful, aromatic Perigord or Burgundy Truffle is one of the most rewarding, satisfying, and delicious decisions you’ll make in your lifetime, but it’s not one to be taken lightly. We’re here to help you every step of the way from “just looking” to living a very long and happy evening or two with your new family member!
See below for how to store, care for, and use your great big fungi friend. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How should I store a fresh truffle?
- To reduce moisture, wrap your truffle in unbleached paper towels and place it in a small cloth bag or breathable container.
- Store in your refrigerator between 38-42 degrees Fahrenheit, changing the paper towels daily, until ready to use.
- Store with butter or eggs. This will allow truffle aroma to lightly infuse, perfect for scrambled eggs, buttered toast, or basting meat and fish.
- Truffles last for 3-7 days when stored properly. Use ASAP!
💡 ANSWERS TO YOUR MOST IMPORTANT TRUFFLE QUESTIONS
Few ingredients in culinary lore beckon to diners like the mysterious truffle. Ethereal in aroma, decadent in taste, and sold for thousands of dollars per pound, truffles have long captured the interest and imagination of diners and cooks alike. Truffles may be things of culinary legend, but they do not have to be mysteries. For insight into the world of truffles, we asked our founding team of Michelin-rated chefs and Dining Room professionals to break down the basics.
ARE TRUFFLES MUSHROOMS?
- Contrary to popular belief, truffles are not mushrooms. Members of the genus Tuber, truffles are more akin to potatoes than mushrooms. A truffle is the fruit or spore-bearing organ of a fungal network called Mycelium, which grows underground.
- Mushrooms typically release their spores into the wind as a means of reproduction, but truffles depend on animals to spread. Most truffles are devoured by forest animals that dig them up to eat. Given the fact that truffles have evolved to emit aromas that mimic mammalian reproductive pheromones, it is not surprising those who enjoy truffles consider them irresistible. Practically perfumed to seduce, they are considered aphrodisiacs in some circles. Truffle hunters famously used sows to seek out the delicacies because a truffle’s musky scent attracted female pigs. The trouble came when the truffle hunter needed to collect his prize despite the best efforts of a determined (and hungry) barnyard animal.
How should I use my fresh truffle?
The beauty of fresh black truffles is they pack tons of flavor and, unlike their more delicate white counterparts, can hold their own with some heat. Some of our favorite ways to use them include:
- Fold them into a classic french risotto, then finish by shaving over top.
- Build a grilled cheese (minus any wet ingredients) and layer sliced black truffle within the shredded cheese. Set in your refrigerator under a heavy pan to infuse overnight.
- Shave over just about any savory dish for a fine dining flair, especially high-quality cuts of meat and seafood.
- Shave and press under the skin of a whole chicken before roasting.
- Stir into stocks and sauces, like a Sauce Diane.
What is the best way to COOK with Truffles?
- Check out our Truffle Recipes page for lots of ideas! And don't be afraid to experiment. Truffles are deliciously paired in everything from simple snacks or grilled sandwiches, to fine cuts of beef, pastas, a seafood bisque, and even desserts.
- As a general rule of thumb, chefs will gently cook black and summer truffles to extract the most flavor. While white truffles are so fragrant and delicious simply shaved thinly over a finished dish.
- For more inspiration, watch how some amazing chefs are using our truffle salt.
Best Truffle Shuffle Recipes to cook with Fresh Truffles
- Black Truffle Risotto 🍚
- Truffle Mac 'n' Cheese 🧀
- Artichoke and Black Truffle Soup 🥣
- French Omelette w/ Mushrooms and Truffles 🍄
- Pan Roasted Chicken Breast w/ Truffle-Chicken Jus 🍗
How do we COOK with Truffles?
RULES OF THUMB
As they relate to cooking, truffles are best expressed when likened to a delicate seasoning, whereas mushrooms are typically used as components of a dish. Hold your nose while enjoying a truffle and ready yourself for disappointment. Because they are so aromatic, the flavor of a truffle is rooted in its smell, and not necessarily its taste alone.
Just as a paint’s color is expressed on canvas, a truffle’s aroma needs a backdrop to express its flavor; generally something rich, starchy, or fatty will highlight a truffle’s natural flavor. Simple dishes like buttered pasta or scrambled eggs are classically employed to spotlight the truffle. The three types of truffles most often used in cooking all have different appearances, aromas, and flavor profiles, and each lends itself well to different cooking techniques and applications.
BLACK WINTER “PERIGORD” TRUFFLES
Tyler Vorce is the Chief Operating Officer at Truffle Shuffle. Before co-founding Truffle Shuffle, Tyler served for eight years as the Expediting Sous Chef at The French Laundry, where truffles are ordered, scrutinized, processed, and consumed en masse. Having been tasked with selecting the very best from plethoras of truffles, he is intimately familiar with the delicacies.
Tyler’s first memory of truffles formed when he was a young cook in Maine, “We used to do a truffle demi-glace at Pier 77 restaurant back in Maine on special occasions using Oregon truffles.” Tyler says. It wasn’t until he was cooking in New York City that he encountered fresh black truffles from Perigord, France. He fell in love with the product and its allure. It is rare, he says, that a product so lauded is cloaked in mystery. "Everyone has heard of them, but few have seen or had them,” says Tyler. As a cook, Tyler loves to share the mysterious tuber with guests; “They create an experience in and of themselves,” he says.
WHITE WINTER “ALBA” TRUFFLE
Sarah McKinney is the Director of Communications and co-founder at Truffle Shuffle. Before founding the company, she was part of the team at The French Laundry, where it was considered an honor to shave truffles over dishes, and only top dining room brass were permitted the privilege--exclusively sommeliers, captains, and matri’ds could shave them. Sarah now delights in the opportunity to share truffles with thousands of guests in her role at Truffle Shuffle.
No matter a diner’s experience with truffles, “size matters” she says; “Size or quantity. They look at a box of truffles and think ‘wow, that must be millions of dollars.” Truffles can fetch hefty prices. Quality white truffles can cost thousands of dollars per pound.
THE SUMMER OR “BURGUNDY” TRUFFLE
Jason McKinney is the CEO of Truffle Shuffle. He has been working with truffles for nine years. Six of those years were spent cooking at The French Laundry, and three of them have been spent selling truffles directly to restaurants.
Chef Jason’s interest in truffles began at the age of 17, where he was working with a chef who cooked a dish of corn, scallops, and black truffles.
“He was one of those chefs that let other people clean up his station,” Jason says.
The chef left a nub of black truffle on his cutting board before he left the kitchen. Jason swiped it and put it in his pocket for safe-keeping. Later, in his room, he held the sliver in his hand.
“The songs of angels came out of the truffle and I thought I was about to enjoy one of the most delicious things in my whole life,” he says. “It literally tasted like dirt, and I was like ‘how does that work?’’ And that is where Jason’s curiosity about truffles began.
Summer truffles (Tuber Aestivum) are found in two varieties: the summer truffle and the Burgundy truffle.. The two are the same species of tuber, but summer truffles grow in summer months and transition into Burgundies for the colder months, continuing to grow in the fall.