White truffles are the world’s most expensive fungus with a scent that is woodsy, earthy and intense. They grow in many areas of Italy, most famously in Piedmont as well as central Italy, living in symbiosis with oak, poplar, beech, birch, and hazelnut trees. They’re in season from September to the end of January, perfect for festive feasting.
The French use pigs to find truffles, following a scent, which is said to resemble the pheromone of rutting hogs while Italians use trained dogs.
Modern truffle hunters use GPS collars to keep track of their dogs and traditionalists use mostly white dogs, which are easier to spot in the dark. This is a clandestine, nighttime occupation. Hunters sell their wares in pre-dawn markets to known buyers, weighed on a gram scale with prices varying from around 3,000 euros per kilo, increasing for the holiday season and in this case, size does matter—large truffles cost more.
Truffles are sliced wafer thin with a special shaver directly over fresh pasta, risotto, fried or scrambled eggs, raw beef or anything with béchamel, like Trussardi’s crespelle – always slice immediately before serving.
Don’t even think about using truffle oil, which is almost always made with artificial flavoring (petroleum derivative!), at best with a crumble of real but pasteurized and therefore tasteless truffle to enhance the illusion. If the words “truffle flavor” are on the label, just say no. We know Trussardi wouldn’t approve. If you want to purchase the real thing, email Tartuflanghe
, attention Veronica. She’ll get you in touch with a local source or a supply of their dehydrated white truffle
,the next best thing.