What is all the fuss about truffles?

neil bougourd | 31 March, 2021

Trufflehas always been one of the staples of gourmet cooking. Its distinctive aroma and taste bring a very rich flavour to any meal, and make any dish just a little bit special.

What is the difference between white and black truffle? 

Truffle is a mushroom that grows on the roots of nut trees. It requires very special weather conditions, i.e. a specific balance of pH in the soil. These specific conditions are quite hard to recreate artificially, so most truffles are found in the wild  by truffle hunters with the help of specially trained dogs or female pigs. Some truffle enthusiasts learned how to grow the precious mushrooms in old mines, train tunnels and bunkers, and have been growing black truffles wherever the conditions allow them. However, the white truffle is almost impossible to cultivate, which makes it more elusive and therefore more expensive. 

Black and white truffle are just different variants of the mushroom. Think in terms of red and white grapes. Both are grapes, but are totally different in terms of taste and uses. However, as you’ll see, truffle is a bit more complex than grape. 

So let’s break it down..

Black truffles can be found throughout Europe, and other types can be found in the United States. It’s easy to cook with black truffles, since they can stand up to a lot of heat and other flavours.

At the same time, white truffles are limited to certain parts of Europe, and in particular, the northern part of Italy. It’s harder to cook with white truffles, since they’re very delicate and can’t be heated much.

In terms of flavour, black truffles have an earthy flavour that sometimes tastes like chocolate or red wine, and smell like dirt, seafood, and rich fungi.

White truffles tend to taste like garlic and sometimes have a nutty flavour. They have a strong ammonia flavour that has been likened to gasoline, and can have a musky note. 

Since raw truffles have a very short shelf life, it’s hard to find them fresh outside of  specialty markets. That’s why preserved, marinated truffle, and truffle products are much more commonplace. The most known truffle infused products are the truffle oil and the truffle salt, because of their versatility and  many possible uses. 

So, what exactly is a truffle oil? 

When people think of a truffle oil, they usually assume that it’s an oil made out of a truffle. But the reality could not be farther from the truth. There is no way to extract an oil out of a mushroom. 

So, to put it plainly, the truffle oil is usually made from a combination of a type of oil and some infusion of truffle and/or truffle aroma. Authentic truffle oil is usually made from extra virgin olive oil, although it could be made from other types of high-quality oil instead. It’s then infused with grated, diced, or shaved pieces of real black or white truffles to give it flavour.Often some truffle aroma is added.

Same for any truffle infused product. It’s made out of the grated pieces of truffle mixed with salt, mustard, ketchup, balsamic, etc. 

Quality over quantity? 

The quality of the truffle infused product depends on the percentage of the truffle in it. And the percentage of the truffle, as well as the quality of the mushroom will determine the intensity of the flavour. And the base ingredient itself.

Pro Tip: Avoid truffle oil based on canola or grapeseed oils. These oils might be upsetting to your stomach. 

Recipe for easy delicious steak : 

1 thick steak

1 tsp of Truffle Salt

1 tsp of unsalted butter

Black Pepper - freshly ground


Season the steak with 1/2 tsp of truffle salt and black pepper (let it sit for 15 minutes).

Cook the steak on med/high on the grill. (3-4 minutes per side).

Top with butter and the remaining salt. Let it rest for 5 minutes.