Known as 'the diamonds of the kitchen', truffles are usually found at the roots of trees and are located with the aid of specially trained animals. There are over 2,600 varieties of truffle, but only three are classed as elite truffles: white, black winter and black summer. Priced on a weekly basis, the cost varies depending on availability and quality.
White truffles or 'trifola d’alba' usually come from the Piedmont region in northern Italy and the countryside around the city of Alba. They are the most valuable truffles on the market with a price tag that starts at $3000 for one kilogram. Availability: Sep – Dec Cooking tip: Don't cook white truffles. Slice them raw directly onto dishes.
BLACK WINTER TRUFFLES
Although one of the most valuable truffles on the market, they are still 10-20 times less expensive than white truffles. Availability: Oct – March Cooking tip: Can be served raw or warmed slightly.
BLACK SUMMER TRUFFLES
These truffles have a black exterior and an off-white interior. Found across Europe, they have a more subtle flavor than other truffles. Availability: March – Oct Cooking Tip: Stuff them under chicken skin.
HOW TO STORE
Black truffles can last up to one week in a refrigerator; white truffles will only stay fresh for 3-4 days. Before storing in the refrigerator, wrap the truffles in paper towels and place in a plastic container. Be sure to change the paper towels daily.
Clean fresh truffles with some cold water and a toothbrush to remove soil and dirt. Cut them into paper-thin slices with a very sharp knife. You need at least 10 grams of truffle per person, otherwise you will need to add truffle butter or truffle cream to intensify the flavors in the dish.
A tagliatelli with a little butter or a simple risotto and shaved truffles.