The Truffle Season: How and When to Buy Fresh Truffles
You’ve heard people rave about truffles, how oh-so indescribably delicious they are, how luxurious, how it reminds them of that fabulous little restaurant in the French countryside. They’ve piqued your curiosity and now YOU are finally ready to try the elusive delicacy, only, it seems like they’re nowhere to be found.
You can easily find truffles preserved, but there’s nothing like the flavor and aroma of a fresh truffle, which is what gourmands are enamored with. Find a chef, and ask him or her about truffles. They’ll instantly go into ecstasy, trying to describe that pungent aroma, that earthy flavor. Truffles are so incredibly sought after, yet so rare, that they’re the definition of a luxury item.
Like any produce or vegetable, there are times when truffles are in season and times when they’re not. There are two major types of truffles, black and white, and they’re harvested during the winter. Black ones are found primarily in France and Italy, but the white truffle is only found in Italy. Italian truffles, white Italian truffles most specifically, are so very rare and so very hard to find, and the season is so short, that overall they’re worth almost any price. Summer truffles do exists, and nice enough, but they’re nowhere near as intense as the winter varieties.
The most incredible thing about truffles is that they’re not “grown”. Meaning, there are no fields with neatly planted rows of truffles waiting for the harvest period, like one would imagine. They grow wild, with no intervention, wherever the mushroom feels like. To make things even more complicated, truffles grow underground, so you can’t see them at all! Only the special, super-sensitive noses of “truffle-sniffing” dogs and pigs seem to be able to spot where the elusive mushrooms are buried
Add to this the short time span of the truffle season of, and it should give you an idea of why they’re so expensive and sell so quickly when they’re available.When planning fresh truffle menus, you must plan around the season. It’s not hard to do, since depending on weather they’ll be available at the same time each year.
White truffles are in season starting in October, and the season lasts a few short months. Italian truffles when in season are overnight from Italy every few days.
Black Truffles, both in France and Italy, are available starting in December through February. They’re also flown overnight every few days, but they’re more readily available than Italian truffles.
Sometimes the season will start earlier or later, and last a couple of months or more. This depends entirely on weather patterns; so once you hear they’re available, make your move!
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