Truffles:  subterranean mushrooms found in Italy, France, Croatia as well as other locations throughout the world.  They are grown in the root systems of beech, poplar, hazel and oak trees.  Originally, pigs were used to hunt truffles because of their innate ability to sniff out the truffles but the pigs had to be muzzled to prevent them from eating the truffles.  Since 1985 many regions have prohibited the use of pigs to hunt truffles because of damage to the truffle mycelia.  Dogs are now used to hunt the truffles.  They are also able to smell the truffle and are easier to control.  In 1808 truffles were successfully cultivated by planting acorns that were collected from the ground near truffle producing oak trees.  Now truffles are grown in Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

A friend recently gave me a collection of truffle products – guess she know how much I love truffles!  One of the products is truffle honey.  I must say, this is my favorite new thing.  I drizzled the truffle honey over Red Prima Donna cheese and it was wonderful.  It has a prominent truffle flavor with a light honey taste.  Add a small sip of red wine and you’re heaven bound!  I am thinking this will have to be a regular at our house.  My friend purchased the Casina Rossa collection from Williams-Sonoma which includes truffle salt, dried truffles and the truffle honey.  I have found that I like most truffle products from Williams-Sonoma including the Tartufolio oil which is rather expensive.  I have tried many other truffle oils from grocery and specialty stores that are more reasonably priced but they don’t compare.  One of the reasons I prefer the Tartufolio truffle oil to other brands is Tartufolio contains natural white truffle as well as artificial which could explain the superior flavor.   This is really a case of “you get with you pay for”.   Another truffle product I recently tried is a truffle butter from my local grocery store and I love it.  It’s called Auz Delices des Bois white truffle butter.  They also had a black truffle butter but I purchased the white because it tends to have a more pronounced flavor.  Cost of this product was $8.99 for 3 oz.  I know, expensive but this isn’t for your morning toast.  Use this on crostini, risotto, polenta, pasta or where ever you want the lucious flavor of truffles.  I will be posting my recipe for fresh pasta with a mushroom sauce soon and the truffle butter is great melted into the pasta just before serving.

So if you are looking for a little bit of luxurious decadence without having to take out a second mortgage, try some of the many truffle products available and bring Italy into your dining room.

TartufolioCasina Tuffle CollectionTruffle Butter



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