Truffles in all forms have enjoyed a worldwide boom in mainstream use over the past decade, thanks to a shift towards highly savory, umami flavors. Chefs are increasingly sprinkling casual dishes with a luxurious touch to bring something special to the everyday - and truffles are a key player. In particular, the black truffle from Spain remains one of the most sought-after ingredients out there. Let’s find out why.
Spain produces two species of black truffle: the summer tuber aestivum and the winter tuber melanosporum varieties. Known as the best truffle in the world, the Spanish trufa negra has the lead over France and Italy, thanks to its more distinctive, heady aroma and flavor, prized by chefs. The black winter truffle is the gourmet star of the two varieties, and it is hunted from December to March in the key regions of Teruel, Soria, Huesca, and Catalunya.
Because the trufa negra has always grown and been foraged in the wild, it is a fungus that is still shrouded in mystery. Growing underground at the roots of trees, they’re tricky to find. Pigs are synonymous with truffle hunting, used in the old days to sniff out the delicacy. Nowadays, trained dogs are a truffle hunter’s best friend, as they can sniff out a truffle up to 50 meters away, buried some 50 centimeters underground. Oh, and they won’t eat the goods before delivery!
Sometimes referred to as the black diamond in haute cuisine, black truffle is revered by Michelin-star chefs around the globe. The distinctive flavor makes it surprisingly versatile, appearing in a variety of forms, including on pasta, as fondant, sprinkled on an omelet, in butter, on scallops and even in a burger or mac & cheese. The good news is that you can get your hands on black truffle products for home cooking. If you’re not ready to buy whole black truffles for your recipes - try some truffle-infused Spanish cheeses, truffle oil or truffle salt to add the subtle nuances of this unique flavor from Spain.