Istria became the new truffle capital of the world. According to experts, Istrian truffles are of superior quality to any other truffles in the world. Lush forest covered hills and hidden valleys in the river areas of central Istria are most fertile truffle grounds. Ideal conditions and gentle climate are the reason for the rich habitat of these underground treasures with a specific and intense taste and scent.
What are truffles?
You may have heard of these fancy little things called truffles (real truffles, not the chocolates). Truffles are tubers. They usually look like lumpy rough-skinned potatoes with a firm, spongy texture and a sweet earthy aroma. The closest thing this group of subterranean spore species can be compared to is wild mushrooms. There are several varieties — mainly white and black — that change based on season. White truffles are typically harvested from the end of September to the beginning of January, while black truffles vary in season depending on the specific variety, usually from march to september.
What do truffles taste like?
Some may describe the taste of black truffles as a mixture of chocolaty, nutty and earthy and others may describe it as having a subtle woody flavor mixed with a slight mushroom taste. The region where a truffle is harvested from plays a large role in the taste. White truffles carry a slightly different taste and aroma. They are often described as having a slight garlicky flavor similar to shallots with a deep musky aroma. The pungent aroma and subtle flavor can turn any traditional dish into a gourmet taste experience. In facct, truffles have the unique ability to enhance savory and even sweet dishes to gourmet status.
Where do truffles grow?
They only grow underground in wild forests a few months each year. The tubers are only found in areas with a certain terrain, in the root systems of chestnut, oak, hazelnut and other trees.
How to find a truffle?
Truffles are “hunted” with specially trained dogs, which have supplanted the truffle pigs of yore (one of the reasons being that pigs love their truffles a bit too much, and tend to eat them before they can be grabbed). Because the mushrooms grow so deep in the ground, almost a foot sometimes, they’re incredibly hard to find, and it’s only thanks to the very sensitive noses of these animals that they’re found at all. Truffles tend to grow always in the same spots, which are fiercely guarded by the truffle hunters.