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Burgundy truffles widely vary in size and shape, averaging 2 to 10 centimeters in diameter, and have a rounded, lumpy, and lopsided appearance, molded by stones and other textural components of soil. The truffle's surface ranges in color from brown-black, dark brown, to gray-black, covered in many crevices and pyramidal warts, also known as protrusions, ranging between 3 to 9 millimeters in diameter. Each small diamond-like protrusion is angular with 4 to 6 sides, creating a rough and bumpy feel. Underneath the surface, the flesh is brown to tan, riddled with white marbling, and bears a smooth and spongy consistency. The marbled pattern is unique to each truffle, and the thin, branching veins do not change color when exposed to the air. Burgundy truffles emit a light, nutty aroma with hazelnut, wild mushroom, and garlic nuances, and the truffle’s flesh contains a mild, musky, and earthy flavor.
Burgundy truffles are available in the fall through winter.
Burgundy truffles, botanically classified as Tuber uncinatum, are one of the most prevalent truffle species in Europe, belonging to the Tuberaceae family. The black truffles are favored for their nutty aroma and earthy, delicate flavor and have traditionally been incorporated into haute cuisine of Italy and France. The truffles are also often used as a substitute for the more expensive, rare perigord truffle. Burgundy truffles are known as Tartufo Nero di Fragno or Scorzone Invernale in Italian and Truffe de Bourgogne in French and are hand-harvested across Europe in a specific timeframe from September through January. The truffles are limited to this timeframe due to the release of the summer truffle, Tuber aestivum. Many experts believe Burgundy truffles are the autumn version of the summer truffle, and the differences between the two are purely ecological, created from climate and terroir. Despite their similarities in molecular structure, the truffles are distinguished from one another in commercial markets to avoid confusion. They are also separated with different names to acknowledge the slight variation in flavor, as Burgundy truffles contain a more robust aroma and taste.
Burgundy truffles, like other black truffle varieties, are a good source of vitamin C to boost the immune system and phosphorus and calcium to strengthen bones and teeth. The truffles also provide fiber to regulate the digestive tract, antioxidants to protect cells against free radical damage, and contain lower amounts of manganese, magnesium, and iron.
Burgundy truffles are well suited to flavor raw or cooked applications, typically shaved, grated, slivered, or thinly sliced. It is important to note that the truffles should be added as a finishing element at the end of cooked preparations, as prolonged periods of heat will diminish the truffle’s flavor. Burgundy truffle's umami flavor and aroma complement dishes with fatty, rich elements, wine or cream-based sauces, oils, and neutral ingredients such as potatoes, rice, and pasta. The truffles should be cleaned before use, and it is recommended to brush or wipe the surface rather than rinsing under water as moisture will cause the fungus to rot. Once cleaned, Burgundy truffles can be shaved fresh as a flavoring over crostini, salad, pasta, risotto, soups, and eggs, or they can be incorporated into mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, casseroles, and sandwiches such as grilled cheese. In addition to shaving, Burgundy truffles can be thinly sliced and placed under the skin of poultry or turkey and cooked to impart an earthy flavor. Burgundy truffles are also popularly infused into olive oil with garlic for dressings, cooking oils, and seasoning for French fries or they can be mixed into sauces, folded into butter, or infused into honey. Burgundy truffles pair well with mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and pine, meats including turkey, beef, poultry, and fish, cream, honey, and cheeses such as parmesan, gouda, goat, and mozzarella. Fresh Burgundy truffles will keep 2 to 3 days when wrapped in a paper towel or moisture absorbent cloth and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator's crisper drawer. The truffle must remain dry for the best quality and flavor. Replace the paper towel regularly to prevent moisture build-up as the fungus will naturally release moisture as it is stored.
In Is-Sur-Tille, a town of approximately 4,800 residents in northern Burgundy, a Brotherhood of Burgundy Truffles seeks to raise awareness, promote, and educate consumers on the Truffe de Bourgogne or Burgundy truffle. In French, the Brotherhood is known as Confrérie de la Truffe de Bourgogne and was established in 1994 by nine truffle hunters. Burgundy truffles have been present in the town since the Middle Ages, and according to the Brotherhood, Is-Sur-Tille used to be one of the central truffle collection regions for the king of France and his court. Throughout the year, the Brotherhood hosts truffle-themed events, including educational meetings, dinners, competitions, tours, and the famous Truffle and Taste Bud Festival. The annual three-day event is held in October and was developed in partnership with the town’s tourist board. The Truffle and Taste Bud Festival features three different markets, a farmer’s market, an organic produce market, and a fresh truffle market in the town’s central square. Live music, folk dancing, and other performances are also hosted in the square, while food vendors offer a piece of a giant truffle-infused omelet. The Brotherhood also works with the food vendors to create truffle-focused food menus to provide visitors with an opportunity to sample Burgundy truffles.
Burgundy truffles are native to Europe and have been growing wild since ancient times. The aromatic, underground fungi were used by the Romans and were incorporated into meals of the French court in the Middle Ages. Burgundy truffles are considered one of the most widely distributed species and have been found in nearly every European country. Today Burgundy truffles are foraged and grown through truffle farms, primarily in France and Italy. The truffle species favors sandy, calcareous soils and thrives in shady areas amongst the roots of hardwood trees like oak, chestnut, beech, black pine, poplar, and hazelnut. Burgundy truffles are sold fresh through local markets and distributors in Europe. Internationally, the truffles are offered through online retailers and distributors. Burgundy truffles are also processed into culinary goods for export. In 2020, the first Burgundy truffles cultivated in North America were successfully grown in Sonoma Country, California, through inoculated trees planted in an orchard in 2011.
Recipes that include Burgundy Truffles. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Viva Gourmet||Fresh Truffle Risotto with Mushrooms|