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Truffles: A Gourmet Delight

Updated on August 20, 2010

Chocolate Truffles

Often referred to as "the Food of Kings," truffles are a gourmet delicacy with a long and storied history, dating back to the days of Julius Caesar in the early Roman Empire. Truffles have also played an important role in the dining habits of modern political leaders as well. For example, Urbani truffles were served at the White House for the inaugural dinners of presidents Richard F. Nixon and George W. Bush, Sr.

Many people mistakenly describe truffles as a type of mushroom, but this is incorrect. Classified as tubers, truffles grow underground and are harvested seasonally. There are four different types of truffles, each of which can be harvested at different types of the year.

Seasonal Truffle Availability

  • White truffles (available September 1 - December 31)
  • Black truffles (available January 16 - February 30)
  • Bianchetto truffles (available March 1 - March 30)
  • Summer truffles (available April 1 - August 30)

Both fresh truffles in season and preserved truffles have many uses. They are utilized by the finest chefs around the world, as well as by home cooks who enjoy preparing and eating fine gourmet cuisine. Both fresh truffles and a variety of truffle products are available from

Truffle Products

  • Truffle Butter
  • Truffle Bon Bons (Chocolate)
  • Truffle Oil
  • Truffle Puree
  • Truffle Sauce
  • Truffle Fondue
  • White Truffle Honey
  • Whole Truffles

Cooking With Truffles

When cooking with truffles, it is important to keep in mind that they are very delicate and should be treated with care. Truffles are used in a wide variety of dishes, including of course chocolate truffles and salads, seafood entrees, meat marinades, and just about anything else you can imagine. For truffle recipe ideas, see

Wine Selections for Truffle Recipes

For advice on choosing the best wine to go with your truffle dishes, whether you prepare them yourself or order them in a restaurant, see The Wine and Food Matcher, a free online wine selection tool provided by accredited sommelier Natalie MacLean, author of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.

Alternative Uses For Truffles

  • Many people use chocolate and vanilla truffle oils as home fragrances. They can be used in oil warmers, used to enhance the scent of a lit candle, and even sprinkled on the carpeting in your car to give it a pleasant natural scent.
  • Throughout history, many people have believed that truffles are a a powerful aphrodisiac.


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