OK, here is the truffle trivia, as promised! This information was provided to us in an unforgettable cooking class in Spoleto, Umbria, at Il Tartufo - meaning, "The Truffle."
- Store white truffles in damp towel, but store black truffles in dry towel.
- Always use white truffles fresh, never cooked (the heat of the dish will release the flavor), whereas black truffles are made into sauces and salsas - they are never shaved fresh or raw on top of a dish.
- There are two types of Black truffles - summer and winter varieties.
- What should you pay for truffles? White truffles cost about 180 Euro/kilo. Summer black truffles cost ~150 Euro/kilo, and winter black truffles can easily cost up to 1500 Euro/kilo !
- Other differences between summer and winter black truffles:
- The summer type is the "lesser" type and therefore costs much less; the winter type is called "pregiato," which meach appreciated or prestigious. It is the more precious of the two types of black truffles.
- Summer black truffles' surface is thick and abrasive/rough with bigger holes, whereas the winter black truffles' surface is smoother with tiny pores.
- You should clean the surface of black truffles with a little brush to remove the dirt (also makes them weigh less so you pay less!) allowing you to carefully examine the surface. It could save you a lot of money and help you not pay for winter truffles when they're trying to sell you summer truflles (if you happen to encounter an unscrupulous vendor).
- Summer black truffles are black on the outside but beige on the inside! Winter black truffles are actually black throughout, even a dark purplish black.
- Black truffles, both summer and winter, have veins running throughout. The summer truffles' veins are larger and fewer, whereas the winter truffles' veins are very thin and narrow.
Now, you are all prepared to shop for truffles! Buon appetito!