Brief Guide to delicious Preserved Truffle Products!
As is the case with most foods, you can’t beat fresh. However, fresh truffles require careful planning because they aren’t cheap and you’ll only get a window of a few days to consume them. They’re also seasonal, so you might only be able to enjoy your favourite truffle for 2 or 3 months a year.
If you prefer to take things a little easier, but still crave the truffle experience, then preserved truffles are definitely the way forward. With shelf-lives extending up to 4 years, you can enjoy them all year round in stress-free bliss!
Preserved truffles can also be a relatively inexpensive way of savouring truffles perhaps for the first time and the sheer range of products available means they are a great way of experimenting with different dishes.
They won’t match fresh truffles, but if prepared correctly and alongside other quality ingredients they can be absolutely exquisite.
The majority of unsold fresh truffles (yes, some actually do go unsold – usually small, irregular shaped or cut pieces) are rushed off to small workshops to be transformed into a myriad of delightful concoctions. They may be left whole, chopped up, sliced, blended or infused. If carried out correctly, the transformation process doesn’t alter the innate corporeal flavours of the truffle.
What type of preserved truffle products are there?
Preserved truffles can be broadly divided into 3 groups:
1. Real preserved truffles
All the classic white and black Italian truffles can be found in preserved form. They normally rest in their own juice with a little salt. They can also be found in carpaccio form or ready sliced.
2. Products which deliver the magical truffle flavours to other dishes
These include truffle oils, truffle butter, truffle juice, creams and sauces. Very popular with restaurant chefs all around Italy.
These are classic products with truffles added during their preparation and can be consumed as they are. This range includes literally hundreds of items, e.g. honeys, bruschetta, pestos, dry pasta, pasta sauces, cheese, patés, chocolates, biscuits, cakes, salt, polenta….
Watch out for the Truffle Scams!
Unfortunately, as with most desirable products, there are certain unscrupulous companies who try to swindle their way onto our tables. Some use chemical flavourings instead of truffles and others cheaper, far inferior truffles from Asia labelled as Italian. Truffle oils* in particular have gained a poor reputation for their artificial flavour. Our advice is to buy from trusted suppliers/producers.
*A lot of confusion surrounds truffle oils. The ones to avoid (or at least be aware of) are oils with chemical flavourings. However even the best truffle oils often contain natural truffle flavouring. This is because the lovely truffle fragrance tends to diminish relatively quickly in oils and the flavouring is used simply to keep it fresh and vibrant for as long as possible. The taste they confer to dishes is entirely down to the real truffle infusion which remains much more stable over time.
We have one of the largest ranges of preserved truffles in the UK including a number of award winning products – Please come in and have a look around.