It’s Black Winter Truffle season in the Jungle Jim’s Produce Department! We just received a shipment today and decided to dive into some history and find out more about this elusive fungi. Our takeaway: truffles are weird.
Now, we aren’t talking about those chocolate truffles you might be used to seeing on store shelves. We’re talking about the strange, round, dimpled, dark fungus (mushrooms) that lives beneath certain trees mainly in France and other European countries. Although in recent times New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, India and even the United States have joined coveted the Truffle Club (we came up with that).
Why are truffles so sought after and so lucrative? For starters, truffles are generally only found in the wild. Some people have pursued farming their own, but at the end of the day Mother Nature makes the rules. Truffles are found living 1-2 feet below the surface among tree roots, and the only way to find them is to use a trained pig or dog to sniff them out. Wait a second - two feet underground and they can still smell them? They can, indeed. Truffles have a strong but pleasant odor. We can’t quite agree how to describe it, but it’s oddly attractive.
So your curiosity is piqued, but you don’t know what to do with these precious little nuggets? Typically truffles are shaved onto finished dishes. They go great on pasta dishes with creamy sauces, as they soak in the essence of the truffles to give you a melody of flavors throughout the entire dish. Chicken, or other poultry, with veggies such as leeks and potatoes is also a fantastic choice. Finally, buttery and cheesy dishes go well with truffles as well as scallops, fish, eggs, salads and soups. Really, truffles work nicely with a wide variety of foods.
Truffles are also used to make a variety of other things such as oils, salts, sauces and even vodka (that’s true). Don’t be fooled, though, as many of these don’t actually contain real truffles! At Jungle Jim’s International Market, however, you can get the real deal, right here, in your own backyard! Want to be the talk of your holiday party? Invite Black Winter Truffles to come along!
Black Winter Truffles are currently available at Jungle Jim's International Market Fairfield