Truffle is among the most precious ingredients in European cousin… Growing underground, this rare mushroom’s three types; white truffle, black truffle and summer truffle are used in many different dishes and they add quality flavor.
Truffles are not a well known mushroom in Turkey… Gaziantep’s keme mushroom is from the truffle family… It’s most well known dish is the keme kebab. This flavor which we are slowly discovering is grown in many different areas in our country.
Because it loses its flavor during cooking, truffles are usually served raw. You can find it in slices next to ready-to-serve dishes or it can be grated on top of the dish. In meat dishes, it can be sliced between the meat to have the flavor pass on to the meat. It also serves well with oily dishes containing cheese, butter and egg.
The French “black diamond”, the truffle is known as the food of gods and kings in the world. It is an essential in the richest meals with its unique flavor. The most expensive dishes in menus of the world’s most elite restaurants are served with truffle which is 1.000 Euros per kilo. Known as the “black diamond”, truffles have a trading value of approximately 6 billion dollars and it is eaten by the rich in Europe. However, because it is not well known in Turkey, wild pigs are the ones who eat it in the forests…
HIGH DEMAND, LOW QUANTITY PRODUCT
The truffle grows below ground in the roots of trees and thanks to its characteristic smell it can be found by specially trained dogs. It is found in some parts of the Mediterranean climate. 45% of truffles come from France, 35% from Spain and the remaining 20% is provided by Italy. Because the demand for truffle, which is the world’s second most expensive food after caviar, rises every year and the production is decreasing, the price of this special caviar is always increasing.
NOT WELL KNOWN IN TURKEY
This mushroom is known as ‘trüf’ in Turkish while in France it is called ‘truffe’, in Italy ‘tartufi’, in Spain ‘trufa’, in England ‘truffle’, in Germany ‘trüffel’ and in Sweden it is called ‘tryffel’. Even though in Turkey, the mushroom’s collected from different regions possess their own different names, generally they are known as ‘dolaman’ or ‘dolaman mushroom’.
In many European countries, truffles are referred to as ‘king’s food’ and in Turkey, they naturally grow in Denizli, Antalya, Muğla and Osmaniye; however as they are not that known, they are usually not collected and consumed. Gaziantep’s keme mushroom is a kind of truffle… The keme kebab is it’s most well known dish…
The first artificial truffle forest plantation in Turkey recently took place in Denizli. During March, another Project took place in Yatağan. A quality form of truffle, which can grow in -10 degrees in winter and up to 40 degrees in summer, is said to be growing near Bolu. In France alone, over 20 thousand people make their living on truffles. It seems like it’s trading value has recently been discovered by Turkish producers as well.
WHERE DOES IT GROW?
Like potatoes, truffles grow below ground and close to tree roots-especially roots of oak and chestnut trees-below 50 cm. The reason why truffles grow close to tree roots is that it sucks the root to get the sugar and organic acids it needs. It requires a delicate balance during its growth and summer showers are ideal because it provides the right amount of moist. Dry summer months cause truffles to dry. Because it cannot be seen above ground, collecting truffles requires a certain expertise. Furthermore, specially trained dogs are used due to their smell talents. In order to get the most proficiency from these specially trained dogs, they are used in the early morning hours for finding truffles.
ITS APPEAL IS IN ITS FLAVOR
The reason why truffles are so famous is their unique, characteristic scent. Because it grows underground, it cannot spread its spores with wind or water. With the unique scent it gives out when it is most ripe, it attracts animals and these animals spread these spores through excrements. Truffles are most desired because of their aromatic quality due to the organic sulfur they possess.
IT SHOULD NOT TOUCH WATER
The aroma of the truffle, which is as big as a walnut and weighs 100 grams, is most vibrant when it is fresh. Because it loses its aroma and its moistness after being harvested, truffles should be served fresh. In other words, in order to get your money’s worth, you should consume it in five days starting from its harvest. When truffles touch water, they start rotting. It should be preserved in a jar in the refrigerator.
Truffles should be processed very carefully in order to keep its aroma and flavor. If they have dirt on them, it is natural since they grow underground. Before cooking, truffle should be washed thoroughly and wiped with a paper napkin.
Because it loses its flavor during cooking, truffles are usually served raw. You can find it in slices next to ready-to-serve dishes or it can be grated on top of the dish. In meat dishes, it can be sliced between the meat to have the flavor pass on to the meat. It also serves well with oily dishes containing cheese, butter and egg. It can be kept in olive oil so that the oil gets the flavor. The ‘truffle oil’s are made this way. You cannot make oil with the truffles themselves.
Tuber Magnatum (White Truffle)
Even though black truffles are known as the “black diamond”, the most expensive truffle is the white truffle. In shape and color, the white truffle resembles a potato and it has a peculiar smell. It only grows naturally in Italy and some parts of the Balkans. In order to get the taste that you paid for, you should eat it raw. It is recommended that you slice it on top of something which does not have an intense taste like pasta or risotto.
Tuber Melanosporum (Black Winter Truffle)
Its surface is covered with bumps. The tuber melanosporum is the most well known and it is accepted as the “black diamond”. This truffle has a unique smell and flavor, the inside is Brown and it has white veins. Naturally grown in Spain, France and Italy, the black truffle can be made in to oil, vodka and sauce.
Tuber Aestivum (Summer Truffle)
It usually grows in warm climates like Italy, Spain, Portuguese, South of Germany and Russia’s areas in Europe. Because its natural habitat is so common, it is the most common and thus it is the most consumed type of truffles. It’s outside looks like black truffle however it’s scent is less intense.