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A guide to fresh Perigord black truffles (truffle mushrooms)

Black truffles from the Perigord region in France are now reaching maturity and will continue to improve in flavor and aroma through January and February.

Truffles are a type of mushroom that grows within the root structure of certain varieties of trees.  There are over 70 varieties of truffles, but the most sought after varieties include summer truffles, Burgundy truffles, white truffles (Alba truffles), and black winter or Perigord truffles.

Black winter truffles, also known as Perigord truffles, are highly aromatic and have a distinct earthy flavor.  When mature, black winter truffles should be charcoal to black inside with white veins.  They should be firm; never spongy.

Black truffles from the Perigord region in France are in season from late November until mid March, and reach the peak of maturity in January and February.  Prices change weekly, based on supply and demand.  Because black truffles are popular on holiday menus, the prices tend to spike during the month of December, and especially for Christmas and New Years.

Perigord black truffles are best when cooked because the heating process releases the wonderful truffle flavor.  A black truffle omelette is a simple, but wonderful way to experience the true flavor of black winter truffles.  Other popular recipes include Pommes Salardaises, and chicken in half mourning (truffled chicken). A good version of these three classic truffle recipes can be found in the cookbook, Saveur Cooks or on our website www.mirepoixusa.com.

Some additional cookbooks which feature multiple black truffle recipes include Caviar, Truffles and Foie Gras, by Katherine Alford, Truffles, Ultimate Luxury Everyday Pleasure, by Rosario Safina and Judith Sutton, Charlie Trotter’s, and Jean-Louis, Cooking with the Seasons, by Fred Maroon.

Truffles should be brushed lightly to remove any dirt.  The skin of the truffle can be peeled or left intact.  Truffles are usually sliced very thin, with a sharp knife or truffle shaver.

Store black truffles in an airtight container, wrapped in a paper towel to absorb the moisture.  The towel should be changed daily, or as needed.  Black truffles are best consumed within a week to ten days after being harvested. It’s best not to store black truffles (or any type of truffle mushroom) in rice, because the rice can dry out the truffle, and there is little benefit in perfuming the rice with the truffle aroma.

For more information about black truffle mushrooms, truffle recipes, or to buy truffles, please visit our website.

Black truffle mushrooms from Perigord, France

Black truffle mushrooms from Perigord, France

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