By John Staughton (BASc, BFA)
A truffle is a rare and delicious culinary treat that is highly sought after throughout the world.
What is Truffle?
Truffles are an underground mushroom from the Tuber genus, many of which are extremely valuable for their potent flavour and culinary applications. Although not everyone enjoys mushrooms, truffles have a unique and delectable taste and are particularly well represented in French cuisine. Most truffle varieties form a symbiotic relationship with certain types of trees, ranging from oak and hazelnut to pecan and beech trees.
Truffles and truffle delicacies are also some of the most expensive foods in the world, costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars per kilogram. Truffles command such high prices because they don’t keep well for very long after they are dug up, and they are difficult to cultivate. Specially trained dogs or pigs often must be used to sniff out the truffles underground. According to a study conducted in Italy by Antonietta Mello et al., the growing season for these mushrooms is also relatively short – only 3-4 months in length – which may explain the high price tag. Some of the various types of truffle include black truffles, garlic truffles, summer truffles, and white truffles, the last being the most prized and expensive of all.
Truffle NutritionIn terms of nutrition, these mushrooms offer dietary fiber, as well as protein, phosphorus, iron and calcium, according to a research report by Amina Hamza et al. There is no fat and it has a low level of carbohydrates. Vitamin D is also found in these mushrooms. However, since such a small amount of these mushrooms are used in most dishes, they are not commonly eaten for their value or density.
There are various health benefits associated with eating truffles, including loweringand preventing premature aging, among others.
- Reduce stress
- Slow down the ageing process
- Protect the liver from damage
- Lower risk of developing disease
- Aid the immune system with anti- properties
- Healthy meat alternative for vegan and vegetarians
- Provide relief from trachoma and other eye