Exclusive truffles available nearly year-round

A special member of the fungus family is the truffle. This tuber-shaped mushroom is special because it’s difficult to find. Because they can’t be grown either, people depend on what nature offers them. The truffle is a beloved product in culinary kitchens.

 

Truffles can be found in all shapes and sizes. They are a fungus that grows underground. Just like mushrooms, this speciality comes from a web of threads in the upper layer of the soil. “At certain points in this web, a so-called fruit will grow. This fruit can grow into an above ground mushroom or an underground truffle,” says Marianne van der Meer of Smeding Groenten en Fruit. Wild truffles grow near hazel, oak and fruit trees. Well-known truffle regions are the Provence in France and Umbria and Marche in Italy. Truffles are also grown, but the cultivated product can’t be compared to the wild truffle, according to her. “A very special climate, limy soil and a certain type of tree are needed to grow the truffle and give it its intense aroma. These conditions are difficult to copy.”

Truffles grow at a depth of 10 to 30 centimetres. This makes it almost impossible for human noses to find them. In the past, pigs were used to find these fungi. Nowadays, truffle hunters work with dogs that have been specially trained because the pigs often ate the valuable delicacy before the hunter could dig it up. “Truffles are therefore one of the most expensive ingredients in the world. With this exclusive delicacy on the menus, restaurants can serve their guests something special. The delicacy grown in soil has been popular in the culinary Netherlands for years. They’re used in pastas and tapenade, for example. Combinations with game and fowl are also much loved. For the ultimate experience, fresh truffle is often grated over the dish while the guests look on.”

Winter and summer truffles
Each truffle variety has its own season. To look for truffles, a permit is needed. The summer truffle can be looked for from 1 May to 1 September. July is the best month for summer truffles, which can be noticed due to the very present odour of forest and moss in truffle regions. Marianne: “Thanks to the summer truffle, the truffle is available practically year-round. The flavour of summer truffles is similar to that of winter truffles, but it’s slightly more subtle.” The autumn truffle is a proper seasonal product. Autumn has two popular truffle varieties, and of these, the white truffle (Tuber magnatum pico) is the most exclusive. This delicacy can be harvested between 15 October and 1 January. The white autumn truffle is known for its special flavour. The second autumn truffle is the brown Tuber Uncinatum Chatin, which is very suitable for sauces and risottos. The black summer truffle is also called Tuber aestivum vittadin, and can be harvested between 1 May and 1 September. The black summer truffle tends to be slightly cheaper than the black winter truffle, which can be harvested between 15 October and 15 March. To retain the truffle’s flavour, it has to be carefully stored. A well-stored truffle is fresh and dry.

“In the past year, the autumn truffle was plagued by warm and dry weather, but this year, the climatological circumstances could be called perfect, so that a wonderful autumn truffle season is to be expected. It’s exceptional that the summer truffle season lasted until the first week of October and seamlessly led to the autumn truffle season, which will last at least until December. After this, the king among truffles will follow, commonly known as the black truffle, although it’s known as Tuber melanosporum to experts, and it can mostly be found in Norcia, in Umbria.”

 

More information:

Smeding Groenten en Fruit

Marianne van der Meer

MvanderMeer@smeding.nl

www.smeding.nl  


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