What Are Truffles?
They're so special, only pigs and dogs can find them! Truffles are fragrant underground fungi related to mushrooms. Their musky aroma is heavenly to some, and hellish to others. Extremely expensive due to their rarity and inability to be cultivated, they are sold fresh, dried, or canned, usually imported from France or Italy. The Italian white truffle from Alba is the most highly prized, and is worth, literally, more than its weight in gold. Like black truffles from France, the Alba truffle is usually shaved paper-thin over simple foods like pasta, polenta, or eggs, the better to appreciate its rare character. Truffles are often served in combination with mushrooms, which accent truffles' heady aroma. For most of us nonbillionaires, gourmet stores sell olive oil infused with truffle essence, which imparts much of the same flavor for a fraction of the price.