松露本身吃起來並無特別的味道，但因為散發著特殊的氣味，自古便有許多人為之著迷。1825年時法國著名美食家布里亞-薩瓦蘭（Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin）在其著作《味覺生理學》（Physiologie du Goût）中便盛讚松露為「廚房的鑽石」。歐洲人將松露與魚子醬、鵝肝並列「世界三大珍饈」，屬於高貴食材之一，特別是法國產的黑松露（Tuber melanosporum Vitt.）與義大利產的白松露（Tuber magnatum Pico）評價最高。
The Black truffle or Black Périgord Truffle (Tuber melanosporum) is named for the Périgord region in France and grows exclusively with oak. Specimens can be found in late autumn and winter, reaching 7cm in diameter and weighing 100g though usually weigh less. Production is almost exclusively European, with France accounting for 45%, Spain 35%, Italy 20%, and small amounts from Slovenia and Croatia. In 1900, France produced around 1,000 metric tonnes (1,100 short tons) of Tuber melanosporum. Production has considerably diminished in the past century, and is presently around 20 metric tonnes (22 short tons) per year, with peaks at 46 metric tonnes (50 short tons) in the best years. 80% of the French production comes from southeast France: upper-Provence (départements of Vaucluse and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), part of Dauphiné (département of Drôme), and part of Languedoc (département of Gard); 20% of the production comes from southwest France: Quercy (département of Lot) and Périgord. The largest truffle market in France (and probably also in the world) is at Richerenches in Vaucluse. The largest truffle market in southwest France is at Lalbenque in Quercy. These markets are busiest in the month of January when the black truffles have their highest perfume. Black truffles on these markets sell between €200 and 600 per kilogram ($280–$840 per pound), depending on the quantity and quality of the harvest.
The White truffle or Alba Truffle (Tuber magnatum) comes from the Langhe area of the Piedmont region in northern Italy and, most famously, in the countryside around the city of Alba. It is also found in Croatia, on the Istria peninsula in the Motovun forest alongside Mirna river . Growing symbiotically with oak, hazel, poplar and beech and fruiting in autumn, they can reach 12cm diameter and 500g, though are usually much smaller. The flesh is pale cream or brown with white marbling. Like the French black truffles, Italian white truffles are very highly esteemed (illustration, right). The white truffle market in Alba is busiest in the months of October and November. The Tuber magnatum truffles sell between 200€ and 400€ per hectogram ($1000 - $2000 per pound). In 2007, due to devaluations of the dollar, white truffles were selling at $3000 - $4000 per pound. They produce a scent that mimics a male pig sex hormone, and for this reason, female pigs have been used historically in Europe to help find truffles. However, more recently, dogs have become preferred for truffle hunting since they can be trained to just find the truffles whereas sows eat the truffles as soon as they find them.
The Tuber magnatum pico White truffle is mostly found in northern and central Italy, while the Tuber borchi, or Whitish truffle, is found in Tuscany, Romagna and the Marche. Neither of these is as aromatic as those from Piedmont.
Looking for truffles in open ground is almost always carried out with specially trained pigs (truffle hogs) or, more recently, dogs. Pigs were the most used in the past, but nowadays dogs are preferred.
|Truffle Hog||Truffle Dog|
|Keen sense of smell||Keen sense of smell|
|Innate ability to sniff out truffles||Must be trained|
|Tendency to eat truffles once found||Easier to control; probably will not eat truffles|
The female pig's natural truffle radar as well as her usual intent to eat the truffle is due to a compound within the truffle similar to androstenol, the sex pheromone of boar saliva, to which the sow is keenly attracted. It may have been the strange attraction that pigs have to these fungi which prompted its discovery by early human populations.
Because of their high price and their pungent taste, truffles are used sparingly. Supplies can be found commercially as unadulterated fresh produce or preserved, typically in a light brine.
White truffles are generally served uncooked and shaved over steaming buttered pasta or salads. White or black paper-thin truffle slices may be inserted into meats, under the skins of roasted fowl, in foie gras preparations, in pâtés, or in stuffings. Some specialty cheeses contain truffles as well.
The flavor of black truffles is far less pungent and more refined than that of white truffles. It is reminiscent of fresh earth and mushrooms, and when fresh, their scent fills a room almost instantly. In 2006, designer Tom Ford released a perfume that lists black truffle as its first note.
Truffle oil is often used as a lower-cost substitute for truffles to provide flavoring, or to enhance the flavor and aroma of truffles in cooking. However, most truffle oil is a synthetic product that contains no actual truffles.
As truffles are considered a delicacy, they command high prices. The world's most expensive truffle was a 1.51 kilogram rare White Alba truffle. It was sold for 125,000 Euros (Hong Kong Dollar $1,250,000; US $160,000) on 13 November 2006 to Hong Kong property tycoon Sir Gordon Wu . This price beat the 2005 world record of 95,000 Euros for a 1.21 kilogram White Alba truffle. The 2006 auction took place at the Castle of Grinzane Cavour in Italy, with three auction houses taking part (via satellite link): Castle of Grinzane, Hong Kong, and Paris.
( above news from Yahoo)