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There are plenty of things to look forward to in winter – cooler temperatures, cosy jumpers, Christmas presents galore – but for foodies, the most exciting of them all is the arrival of truffle season!
A delicious example of why we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, this dense fungus doesn’t exactly look like it will be particularly tasty… but just the heady aroma of this wonderful ingredient is enough to get us salivating!
White truffles are only in season for a short amount of time – usually between October to December – but their availability and quality is totally dictated by the year’s weather. Not enough rain and the truffles will be too dry; too wet and the truffles will lack their distinctive aroma.
Truffles do not keep well either; they lose weight and perfume quickly so should be bought fresh and consumed within a few days to enjoy them at their best. Factor in the fine art of discovering truffles in the first place (they grow underground where only trained pigs or dogs can sniff them out) and it’s no wonder that they are considered such a rare and expensive delicacy.
When people think of white truffles, it’s usually the region of Alba in northern Italy that comes to mind – but it’s certainly not the only place to source amazing white truffles. Profood imports white truffles to Hong Kong directly from a truffle hunter in the medieval village of San Miniato in Tuscany, an area that has a long history of truffle hunting with family secrets passed down through the generations. It’s also famous for producing some of the largest white truffles ever found, including a record-breaking 5.56lb (2.52kg) whopper that was discovered in the neighbouring village of Balconevisi in 1954 and presented as a gift to the then-president of the United States of America, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
San Miniato’s truffles are renowned for their quality – not only because of the fertility of the woods themselves, but also the strict controls imposed by the village dictating that the truffles are gathered selectively and in moderation. Every year, San Miniato holds a special white truffle festival to celebrate the area’s fantastic produce (which also includes cheese, wine, olive oil and cold-cuts), as well as award prizes for the biggest truffle discovery and oldest truffle hunter!
Here are a few of Profood’s favourite recipes to make at home with white truffles – we’ve left the quantities up to you depending on how many people you’re feeding… or how hungry you are. So make the most of the season whilst you can and get truffling!
This classic dish is simple but doesn’t stint on flavour either – rich, creamy and indulgent pasta perfection!
IngredientsWhite truffleUnsalted butterTagliolini pasta - either fresh or driedParmigiano Reggiano - Montanari & Gruzza Salt and pepper
This hearty comfort dish is an easy, relatively healthy dish to make (say hello to one of your five-a-day!) and would make a great quick meal for lunch or a light dinner.
IngredientsWhite truffleUnsalted butterFinely chopped shallots and garlicSpinachEggs Muscat wineSalt and pepper
This comfort food with a twist is probably the easiest recipe of the lot… perfect for lazy days with a touch of extra indulgence!
IngredientsWhite truffleTaleggio cheeseBread - whatever is your favourite kind!Egg (optional)
Rachel Read is a freelance writer, editor and blogger with over a decade’s worth of media experience under her belt. In addition to co-founding writing & editing agency Editors’ Ink and writing her own lifestyle and beauty blog Through The Looking Glass, Rachel is a food lover whose job frequently involves checking out the latest restaurant openings in Hong Kong – yum! Follow her on Instagram for #foodporn aplenty.
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