Last Updated: April 26, 2022

What Do Truffles Taste Like? To Describe That Is Tough. Let Us Explain

What Do Truffles Taste Like

Truffle is a fun-sounding word. They are often known as the diamond of the kitchen. And like diamonds, they are expensive and coveted as a luxury item as they are scarce and seasonal. Let us first see more about them to know what they taste like.

What are Truffles? How are They Grown and Harvested?

Truffles are a species of fungus. Considered a more expensive cousin of the humble mushroom, truffles are far more intense in flavor and aroma. Unlike mushrooms, they grow underground at the roots of other trees and plants, usually oaks and beeches. They take a long time to be ready for harvesting, about 10 years. Besides that, they only grow in certain soil types and are mostly harvested in Italy and France.

They have rough skins with the outward appearance of litchis or pineapples or jackfruits. Fresh truffles have a strong earthy aroma. While underground, only 2 known animals have been able to detect them, dogs and pigs.

What Kind of Truffles are There?

Black Truffles :

Named for their black interior and exterior, they are also known as Perigord truffles after the Perigord region of France. They are commonly seen attached to roots of trees like cherry, oak, and hazelnut and are harvested in late autumn and winter. They are widespread in France and are more affordable than the other varieties. They cannot be eaten raw. 

White Truffles:

These truffle species are also quite common, named after their light-colored exteriors and interiors. They are also called Alba truffles after the city of Alba in Italy or bianchetto, meaning white truffle. These are harvested at the end of autumn and are some of the most expensive truffles. They are gently shaved over dishes to add an extra layer of depth and flavor to the plate.

Summer Truffles: 

Also known as Burgundy truffles, they are found wherever there are truffles and are like and eaten by all. They are usually harvested in autumn and have a reddish-black exterior. They have a powerful and pleasant aroma.

Truffles Taste Like
Image Credit: Shutterstock

What Do Truffles Taste Like?

The best way to know what they taste like would be to taste them yourself. Truffles are known to be delicacies and food for the royal and elite. Moreover, due to their limited shelf life, they are treated with respect both by the people cooking them and the consumers. Other than having many beneficial qualities, truffles are also considered by many to be an aphrodisiac. It is said to make your better half more attractive and tolerable; while I am not sure about that statement, I’ll leave it to you to decide. 

The smell: Truffles always have a strong odor; if they don’t have a strong smell, chances are they are old and are of bad quality. It will have the woody notes of the tree it was under. Smelling it will make you feel like you are out in the forest woodlands. They have hints of fruity and nutty aromas as well. 

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The texture: They are like mushrooms but a bit rubberier and dryer. The outer layer is a bit dry, and the inner side is spongy and squishy.

Truffles are an acquired taste. Meaning not everyone will love them; you’ll either love them or find them repulsive. It is tough to describe what a truffle tastes like because it is truly unique. There aren’t many food ingredients they can be compared to, which makes it that difficult to describe.

Why Are Truffles So Expensive?

Truffles are one of the most expensive ingredients money can buy. Sometimes, some truffle shavings over a dish can set you back a couple of hundred dollars, depending on quantity and season.

The Reason Why Truffles Are So Expensive:

They grow underground under particular conditions. These fungi are very picky about their growing conditions that can’t be replicated easily.

Only dogs and pigs can detect truffles. As they grow underground, the only possible way of detecting and finding them is by smell, which humans cannot do. Pigs have the natural ability to smell truffles but also have a bad reputation for eating the truffle after finding them. In contrast, a dog can be trained to sniff out truffles and not eat them.

Finding it isn’t the end; digging them out without damaging them is also a challenge and is a very tedious and time-consuming job.

On top of that, truffles have an abridged harvesting season. Within that limited time window, truffle hunters have to hunt, harvest, and sell the truffles within a week. They start losing their aroma and flavor immediately after being harvested. Even if kept under optimal conditions, they only have value for a week or two at max.

Considering all these factors, truffles are expensive, and their prices are thus justified.

How to Eat Truffles?

Truffles can be consumed in many ways, both directly or indirectly, both raw and cooked, depending on the type of truffles.

Usually, truffles are shaved over as a finishing touch over food. Food like pasta, risotto, pizza, in fact, any savory food. Fine dining restaurants often use circular cutters to cut out perfect circles and leave out the ugly-looking edges.

When cooked, truffles are usually added in the last few seconds of cooking. Heat and too much heat destroy some of the flavor and aroma of truffles; care must be taken to avoid losing their scent with too much heat.

—Fun Fact—

Usually, the edges are used for cooking. At the same time, the middle and more attractive parts are highlighted by being placed on top of the food.

—Fun Fact—

Other than this, truffles are often turned into truffle oil. Other condiments like truffle salt and seasonings as truffles can be infused into many things. But a lot of times, these flavored truffle products are made from artificial truffles. So be sure to check before buying if the products contain authentic organic truffles.

Where Can I Buy Truffles?

You should only buy truffles from a trusted source. Truffles should only be purchased from stores/shops with a good reputation. Moreover, there are black market truffles out there, but buying from there is a risk, so I would suggest you never buy from there.

What to Look for When Buying Truffles?

The first thing you need to inspect while buying truffles is for any external damage. It should be intact and whole with no exposed inside parts. Usually, exposed insides mean it was broken or damaged.

Next, you should always look out for that aroma; if your truffles don’t have a strong, inviting aroma, then chances are they are ancient or of poor quality. Always buy whole truffles and avoid shaved or ground truffles when purchasing from stores. Nothing compares to intact whole truffles; always get that if you want to taste the true magic of truffles.


***Oils, salts, and other condiments flavored by truffles should be checked if they are made with real truffles.


How to Store Truffles?

Truffles can go bad easily. They should be consumed immediately. The truffle you bought from the store or online is already a week old, considering that it had to be harvested, processed, and then shipped to you. So a general rule of thumb for truffles is to not store them for more than a week in any case.

Just follow these easy steps to ensure that you store them properly.

  • Rub the outside of it with a damp cloth to remove any dirt.
  • Let the moisture dry out for a bit.
  • Place the truffles inside anything airtight, a container or bag.
  • Seal or close the bag or container and place them inside the fridge.

To Conclude

I hope you enjoy truffles as much as you enjoyed reading this. It is hard to describe how truffles taste, but it is not complicated to recommend someone try truffles at least once in your life. Truffles are an acquired taste, and so to know if you are a truffle person, you must try it and figure it out. Truffle isn’t just something you munch on; it is an experience all by itself.

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