What Is a Truffle? A Quick Guide to the Mysterious Fungus

Chocolate truffles are gorgeous too. But let’s talk about the round warty mushroom which has made its way from an offering to the goddess Venus to a food of the poor, and to a sumptuous delicacy that can be ordered online today.

The truffle is a strange and beautiful creation of Nature. This fungus still keeps some of its secrets away from scientists. And its flavorful mysteries make it even more captivating to us, gourmets.  

Dare we try to unravel them?

So, what are truffles?

The truffle is a fungus that grows underground, unlike porcini mushrooms or champignons which we can hunt with the naked eye.

To spread their spores, ripe truffles release their specific aroma to attract foraging animals. Hungry foragers help fragrant truffles get unearthed and dispersed throughout the woods.

This very aroma helps smart dogs of truffle hunters discover the spots where their patient owners should dig to find the precious bulbs. The truffle that fits the hand of an average man costs a few hundreds of dollars.

Well-versed truffle hunters also know that truffles prefer the soils beneath oaks, hazelnuts, birches, and beeches. In this harmonious partnership, the tree provides the truffle with sugars, while the fungus provides the tree with nutrients and water.

Why is the truffle so aromatic?

What is truffle aroma? The truffle is stuffed with various chemicals whose complex combination gives it the unique smell. Mainly, these are sulfur volatiles. Because of them, some white truffles may irritate your eyes and nose when you cut them, like the onion.

Androstenol is another interesting compound. It adds muskiness and sweatiness to the aroma of the truffle. Androstenol is a pheromone (flavorful substance) that occurs in our bodies. Maybe, that’s why the truffle flavor appears so attractive and somewhat familiar to us.

Can a truffle turn out poisonous?

As far as modern science knows, there are no poisonous truffle species. About ten species out of 70 are edible to humans. The others remain the points of mycologists’ concern.

Are truffles addictive?

Some aficionados may figuratively describe these fungi as addictive because of their stunning flavor. As soon as you taste it, you’ll realize that you can’t compare it to anything you’ve tried before. Neither can you forget it.

Consider truffles’ addictiveness as that of coffee, chocolate, or any food you love. You’ll just feel good when you eat some pasta with a truffle slice. So, yes, in this sense, the truffle can get you high.

Are truffles hallucinogenic?

No, any natural species of truffles aren’t hallucinogenic. Even if you pair them with wine.

By the way, aged reds will be perfect.

So, what is a truffle? Another proof that we should never judge a mushroom by its cover. An unremarkable little black bulb will fill your kitchen with the smell of autumn forest. And a few slices of this bulb will turn your everyday potato or eggs into a mouthwatering treat.

Order truffles and truffle specialties at Marky’s today. Enjoy the fare of ancient gods and modern gourmets.