I don’t know about you, but I often feel that something seems to be missing in my life during the fall truffle season in Italy.
With the short shelf-life of fresh truffles (about a week), the only way to enjoy these seasonal delicacies is a trip to Italy or southern France. You can also pay an arm-and-a-leg at fashionable restaurants, but most of us are simply resigned to dream of the “real deal” and settle for truffle scraps in cheese or oil.
Like the late Anthony Bourdain, I do not like the taste of truffle oil. Why consume olive oil and truffles (if there are any) of uncertain providence? There is a reason why gourmands insist on keeping high-quality extra virgin olive oil and truffles separate when dining. You should too!
While I have eaten fresh truffles often (but not nearly as much as I like), I never realized how potent the aroma of truffles is until I left a piece of sottocenere cheese on the kitchen counter overnight. It took several days for the smell of truffles to dissipate from our house.
As discussed more thoroughly in our Frequently Asked Questions about Truffles, there are several different varieties of truffles based on when they are harvested. The white and black truffles are the most prized, but there are other truffle varieties harvested during the spring and summer that are of good quality.
Scorzone or summer truffles lack the aroma intensity of black truffles, but they pack a lot of flavor and are considerably less expensive. As such, Gourmet Living has decided on two methods of preserved truffles to help you enjoy the distinct aroma of truffles the year round.
Truffle Mill and Refills Gift Set
Together with our supplier in Italy, we have put together a truffle gift set consisting of a custom truffle mill and 2 (two) 3-gram refill bags for those gourmands in your life. This truffle gift set makes for a wonderful “hostess gift” or Christmas stocking-stuffer. You can either purchase the custom truffle mill (with 3 grams of scorzone truffles) or 2-bag truffle refills separately or the gift set.
Regardless of what you decide, this is a great way to experience the delight of dried truffles on your pasta, vegetables and even popcorn. Beware of “truffle-flavored” oils and products that are synthetic.
Sliced Truffles in Oil
For those where the aesthetics are as important as the taste, we also have sliced summer truffles preserved in sunflower oil. While some companies claim to sell preserved truffles in “extra virgin olive oil,” most serious gourmands believe that you should preserve truffles in a neutral oil like sunflower oil to maintain the integrity of the truffle. We agree!
Gourmet Living’s truffle carpaccio works great on a risotto or pasta, but we will often serve it as an appetizer on crackers. In any event, you can’t go wrong with truffles regardless of how it is used in your cooking.