The French black truffle is a curious thing. Often referred to as black gold and called the “jewel of French cooking”, truffles truly are delicacies. The first truffles were discovered growing wild, and they quickly became known for their alluring aroma and delicate, but rich, taste.
With truffles, timing is everything. French chefs refuse to use anything but the freshest truffles due to their short shelf life of only three weeks. Their value comes from their ability to flavor a variety of dishes with intoxicating fragrance – the longer they’re cooked with food, the more flavor they contribute. Taste their decadence in veal, soup, fish, shellfish, game, rice and salads!
Truffles have always been a luxury item. Throughout history they’ve been reserved for the ruling class, and even they saved them up for special occasions. These culinary treasures have been a personal favorite of many kings, including King Francis the 1st of France.
The certain mystique surrounding black truffles comes from their difficult cultivation. By the early 19th century, truffle connoisseurs noticed sporadic patches growing near roots of certain trees, oak trees in particular. Soon after, truffle fields began popping up all over France, especially in the Provence region.
Truffle hunting is one of Provence’s most traditional and secretive countryside traditions. French black truffles are still very much a luxury food item, and these unique and highly flavorful mushrooms will always remain a special treat.