Truffles are in the mushroom family but are NOT anything like a mushroom. They come white & black. Italy has both types. France has black truffles. The black ones are milder than the whites. Many countries including ours have tried to grow truffles without much success. They grow on the roots of Oak trees. They are hard to find since they are underground. in Italy they used to use pigs. A pig has a very good sense of smell and can find them easily. The problem is they also like to eat them. Picture a 150 lb Italian man trying to stop a several hundred pound pig from eating his prized truffles.
Next the Italians trained special dogs to find the truffles. Dogs also have a very good sense of smell. The difference is they do not like to eat the truffles. Once found the farmer digs up the truffle. It is brushed clean (like a mushroom) and can be grated over eggs, pasta or rice or can be very thinly sliced with a truffle grater over veal. The taste is wonderful and very unique. at first you might find the smell repugnant but after you have enjoyed them the smell is attractive.
Time ran an article on Why Truffles cost $2,000 a pound? They can cost even higher here in America. Last year we bought a white truffle from Italy and it was $5,000 per pound. The truffle doesn’t weigh much so our purchase cost us about $100. It will last about a week in refrigeration. Use it on eggs and pasta and risotto. The flavoring is divine. The Italians store the truffle in a bottle full of rice. The rice steals the floor and can then be used to make risotto after the truffle is gone. Be careful as the rice can steal all the truffles flavor resulting in a truffle with no taste.
George & Jo Anne