Truffles are undoubtedly one of the most celebrated ingredients in the culinary world. They are revered for their distinctive flavor, scarcity, opulence and can transform a dish into an extraordinary experience. Two of the most highly esteemed truffle varieties are the black Perigord and white Alba.
First, we meet winter black truffles, which are often referred to as the “Diamonds of Perigord”. Buried underneath the soil of along root systems of oak trees in Perigord, France, these truffles are known for their subtle aroma and earthy, rich chocolate flavor. From December to March, rabassiers (French truffle hunters) make their way to the woods and forests of the Perigord region to hunt for the treasured wild truffles. However they are not alone, in tow are female pigs or trained dogs that locate and uncover the precious black truffles. The sows have an inherent ability to smell the truffles deep beneath the ground as they are naturally attracted to the fragrance of the truffle, which is similar a pheromone secreted by boars.
In Italy, the rarest truffle of all is hunted in the woods of the Piedmont hills near Alba. White truffles can only be harvested during October through December. Their aroma is intensely earthy and can fill a room with scents of shallots, garlic and pepper. The sensory experience with winter white truffles is magnificent and unlike anything else in the world. Foragers also use pigs and highly trained dogs to locate the esteemed white truffles growing beneath the soil around oak and hazel trees.