Gourmand gifts: Truffle salt

The Mr. planned our whole honeymoon to Italy — it was a surprise until I got to the airport. And one of the things that really blew me away was how delicious the food was! It’s amazing how the simplest ingredients can taste so good. While we were there, I stocked up on fun pastas, sauces, and splurged on some truffle salt after having truffled eggs for dinner at our favorite restaurant in Rome. Simply adding some to scrambled eggs is really incredible. The Mr. put them in our mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving and they were amazing. Really, it’s hard for me to think of something that isn’t better with truffle salt, but it’s a luxurious splurge–the kind you’re not likely to do for yourself so it makes a perfect stocking stuffer. Although, I will say we use ours often and we’ve barely scratched the surface of the little jar we bought on our honeymoon over a year ago — so a little goes a long way. I bought both white and black versions… wondering like me, about the differences?

WHITE TRUFFLES

  • Great for pasta (mac n cheese… mmmm!!!), salads and vegetables.
  • The more expensive truffle, hence the ‘white diamond’ nickname.
  • It comes from the Langhe area of the Piedmont region in northern Italy.
  • Most famous market: Alba, Italy
  • Season: October and November
  • The record price paid for a single white truffle was set in December 2007, when Macau casino owner Stanley Ho paid US$330,000 for a specimen weighing 3.3 lb, discovered by Luciano Savini and his dog Rocco. Check out my post about Mr. Ho here.

BLACK TRUFFLES

  • Ideal for egg dishes and red meat (Ruth Reichl has a great truffle fillet recipe here).
  • Less expensive than the white truffle.
  • It comes from the Périgord region in France and grows exclusively with oak.
  • Season: December and Janurary
  • Famous market: Lalbenque, France
  • Black truffles don’t grow as large as white truffles–they can reach up to 7 cm in diameter and weigh up to 100 g.
  • Production is almost exclusively European, with France accounting for 45%, Spain 35%, Italy 20%, and small amounts from Slovenia, Croatia and the Australian states of Tasmania and Western Australia.

CHINESE TRUFFLES

  • Not surprisingly, China has come up with a cheaper version of the real thing! Chinese truffles are often exported to the West as an inferior-quality substitute.
  • Some truffle exporters or delicatessen shops sell Chinese truffles into which extracts of the real thing…

Here are my little guys all wrapped up…
I had wanted to write a little ode to truffle salt, like I did for my nutmeg grater gift, but I just didn’t have time for it. Luckily, the people I am giving it to likely will read this post… although of course I did just spoil their gift for them… sorry!

Make sure that the salt you buy has a high percentage of truffles. Dean and Deluca’s has great reviews and is a fair price from what I’ve seen given how many little truffle pieces I can see from the Internet pic!

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One response to “Gourmand gifts: Truffle salt

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