This post may contain affiliate links which means I will get a commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure for details.
What do truffles taste like? Describing truffle flavor in one word won’t do the prized ingredient justice. If truffles taste earthy, why are they so expensive?
Ever wondered what truffles taste like? They’re prized in the culinary world, but most people have not tried them yet because of their limited availability and hefty price tag.
Naturally, anyone who hasn’t tasted truffles will be curious about their flavor.
You see them in different recipes, and if a dish in a restaurant has truffles, it’s usually more expensive than the other items on the menu.
The culinary delicacy is even available infused in salt, oil, butter, or as a flavor of snacks!
Let’s find out more about the complex flavor profile of truffles and what the different species of truffles taste like.
What Are Truffles?
Before anything else, what are truffles?
Truffles are actually fungi, typically growing underground, in symbiosis with tree roots.
There are many uses for them in cooking where chefs slice or shave them raw over pasta, salad, or meat, to name a few.
But because of the limited shelf life and availability, truffles are also infused in butter, oil, and sauces that you can purchase in most groceries.
While we all know truffles are expensive, I thought, “What’s so special about this thing that looks like a lumpy potato anyway?”
Are truffles overhyped, or do they really taste special? I sometimes wonder if we consider pricey ingredients delicious just because we know they’re luxurious. 🤔
It’s like being shown a couture dress that objectively looks unappealing, but we justify its style and assume that it’ll have excellent quality because there are only a few of it, and it’s costly.
Why are truffles so expensive?
Truffles are sometimes called “diamonds of the kitchen,” and these culinary fungi are notoriously expensive.
Here’s a quick summary of why truffles are so expensive:
- Truffles are not easy to harvest, and truffle hunters need assistance from trained animals.
- Truffles can’t be cultivated year-round because they’ll only grow under specific conditions.
- Truffles are rarely available because of their short shelf life.
What Do Truffles Taste Like?
So what do truffles taste like? Fresh truffles have a distinct flavor that is best described as earthy, musky, and garlicky. The taste of truffles is hard to pinpoint because there are also different types of truffles.
Do truffles taste good?
A quick search online will show you divided opinions. Some love truffles because their umami taste enhances the dish’s flavors, while others can’t praise the rare delicacy because they find it pungent.
I think it’s fair to say truffles are an acquired taste, but if it’s your first time trying it, the genus Tuber contains most of the gourmet truffle species.
In the US, the Oregon white, black, brown, and pecan truffles are highly prized!
What Do Black Truffles Taste Like?
Black truffles are so-called because of their grayish-black to brownish-black bumpy exterior. They have an earthy, oaky taste, but black summer truffles have a milder flavor than black winter truffles.
What Do White Truffles Taste Like?
White truffles are not exactly white but look more like cream-brown potatoes with skin that’s not as rough as black truffles. They’re pricier than black truffles, and their taste is reminiscent of shallots and garlic, especially the white winter truffles.
There are also white summer truffles that are described to have a more subtle musky, garlicky flavor. But in general, white truffles taste stronger than black truffles.
Because black truffles are not as expensive (They’re still not cheap, don’t get me wrong 😅), you might want to learn more about their complex flavor profile.
Read about what black truffles taste like, where we covered everything from their flavor, best culinary uses, and if there are ingredients you can use as black truffle substitutes.
Do Truffles Taste Like Garlic?
Some truffles have a garlicky taste, like the musky white truffle. This distinct flavor makes it a delicious ingredient to add to fish, potatoes, and buttery pasta dishes. 🤤
The Different Types Of Truffles
Fresh black truffles like the Perigord truffle have an earthy taste with hints of chocolate, molasses, and tobacco. Enjoy them raw in a warm potato soup, perfect for winter. 😋
Use a few thin slices of burgundy truffles on your favorite dish and take advantage of their musky, nutty taste that some even described as aromatic as hazelnuts. You can also use burgundy truffles to infuse oils!
Fresh white truffles are not as easy to find as black truffles, but you can enjoy them in the form of white truffle oil. The oil’s earthy aroma and kick are especially tasty on salads, pizza, or risotto.
Shop The Post
Why You Should Try Truffles
- Unique Experience: What other better way to know the answer to “what do truffles taste like” than trying them for yourself? Find out if you’ll like their musky, earthy flavor!
- Flavor Enhancer: There are different types of truffles, and their distinct taste and aroma are fantastic flavor enhancers in various dishes. You can add truffles to elevate your fries, potatoes, pasta, pizza, or eggs.
- Rare Delicacy: Truffles are not as widely available as other edible fungi, so if you have a chance to try them, you better grab that opportunity. You can also share your experience with the coveted ingredient with other food aficionados.
How Healthy Are Truffles?
Truffles, the fungi, not the indulgent bite-sized desserts made from chocolate ganache, are rich in natural compounds that protect against free radicals.
Each serving of the gourmet ingredient is also packed with vitamins A, C, B, D, and K, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, copper, and manganese!
I personally like the strong aroma and musky taste of truffles, so it’s fantastic that these delicious delicacies are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
However, don’t try to hunt truffles yourself and only get your fresh truffles from trusted sources. I found out that there are poisonous mushrooms that look like truffles! 😨
Where to Find Truffles
- Gourmet stores: Truffles are rare, seasonal delicacies, so you can only get a real truffle from gourmet stores. If you visit your local supermarket, only truffle products like infused oil, butter, and salt are available since they’re easier to store long-term.
- Websites: You can order the elusive truffle online through Gourmet Food Store. And interestingly, I found burgundy truffles on Etsy and an array of truffle products on Amazon and Walmart.
5 Best Substitutes For Truffles
If you can’t get your hands on fresh truffles, you can buy preserved truffles instead! They are much easier to store, with up to 12 months of shelf life.
Want the earthy and savory taste of truffles to enhance your soup, pasta, or popcorn (this is my latest discovery, which is too delicious not to share! 😋)? Add truffle oil to your grocery list and drizzle away on your finished dish!
Truffle oil is not the only popular truffle product that is readily available. You can also try truffle seasoning, which you can sprinkle on salads, sauces, or even simple egg dishes as a tasty finish.
A genius way to enjoy truffle if you’re not a fan of its aromatic flavor is in the form of truffle butter. The savory taste blends perfectly with the rich butter, especially on cream dishes. 🤤
Comparing truffles to cheaper mushrooms will cause an uproar, but a popular culinary fungus substitute for this expensive ingredient is the porcini mushroom. You only need to soak these dried mushrooms in warm water, then rinse, and they’re ready to go in your elegant dishes!
Do Truffles Go Bad?
Truffles go bad, and their short shelf life is one of the reasons why they’re pricey. Not only are they unavailable year-round, but their quality also quickly deteriorates after harvesting. 😫
Specifically, black truffles can only last for over a week, while white truffles last for around 5 days.
However, some sources mentioned that cleaning truffles and freezing them in an airtight container can help them last for 6 months.
How To Store Truffles
The best way to store truffles is in an airtight container, then put that on the fridge’s top shelf to avoid temperature fluctuations.
The key is ensuring that the truffles remain dry.
But how should you clean this expensive food before storing it?
It’s recommended to clean them before storage, so a good brushing of the truffle skin should suffice.
Recipes That Have Truffles In It
If you get your hands on truffles, make the most out of them by using them raw. You can also try a simple recipe like truffled scrambled eggs.
But if you’re feeling fancy, why not treat yourself to a juicy beef fillet with black truffle?
What To Eat Truffles With
The most common way to enjoy truffles is with pasta dishes. Try grating fresh truffles into the butter of your favorite tagliatelle recipe.
If you only have truffle oil, it goes well with green salads! For example, the peppery flavor of arugula is incredibly yummy with the truffle taste of infused oils.
Elevate your favorite potato dish with the fabulous fungi. Use a drizzle of truffle oil on roasted potatoes, add truffle butter on mashed potatoes, or make truffle fries with infused truffle salt. 😍
What Is The Best Way To Cook Truffles?
But for black truffles, you can also enjoy them cooked. Saute black truffles in oil with thyme for a leveled-up fettuccine recipe!
The heat from lightly cooking black truffles will help maximize their flavor.
Do Truffles Lose Flavor When Cooked?
Most truffles are best eaten fresh and raw to get the most out of their distinct earthy taste and aroma. Just shave them over the dish as a finishing touch because heating will destroy their flavor, especially white truffles!
FAQ About Truffles
Do truffles have ridges?
Some truffles, like black truffles, have a rough appearance. There are also white truffles, which resemble potatoes because of their color and skin.
Are truffles from France or Italy?
Both Italy and France grow truffles. France is known for the Perigord black truffle, while Italy is famous for its Alba white truffle.
So what do truffles taste like?
The easiest way to describe the distinct flavor of truffles is earthy and somewhat garlicky.
It’s musky and unmistakable, so some love the umami flavor that truffles impart on dishes, while others don’t enjoy the taste.
I recommend trying fresh truffles if you ever have an opportunity, but gourmet products like infused truffle oil, butter, and salt are also convenient for enhancing your dishes.😊
For more frequently asked questions, visit our index of food-related questions and answers. Here are a few suggestions for you: