White VS. Black Truffle: What’s The Difference?
White vs. Black Truffle: What’s the Difference Between White and Black Truffles?
If you’ve heard of truffles, you’ve most likely heard of two main types: black truffles and white truffles. But what exactly is the difference between the two? Keep reading and we’ll tell you how black and white truffles are similar and different.
The Truth About All Truffles
Truffles, in general, are a popular delicacy known for their intense, unique, umami aroma and taste. While truffles share many common characteristics, the different species each have their own nuances in appearance, taste, and smell.
All types of truffles are all fruiting bodies of fungi, similar to mushrooms. Furthermore, all truffles are subterranean fungi, meaning they grow below ground, usually among the roots of specific host trees. Due to their subterranean growth, truffles are difficult to find, making them a delicacy throughout the world..
Truffles are often farmed and cultivated in specific locations to meet the high demand better. However, with some types of truffles, cultivating and farming aren’t an option and suppliers must rely on wild sources of truffles.
It can be challenging to find truffles underground, so many people have turned to animal helpers called truffle hunters to find these delicious treasures. Truffle hunters, such as pigs and dogs, are trained to use their strong senses of smell to find truffles growing deep underground.
Out of all the truffles humans seek, there are two species of truffles that are the most common. Those two species of truffles are known as black truffles and white truffles.
Black truffles are the most commonly consumed type of truffle, seen both in luxurious dining as well as more casual settings. Ever seen truffle fries or truffle potato skins on the menu? Those were likely made with black truffles.
They are also known by several other names including Périgord truffles and Tuber melanosporum. The name Périgord truffles refers to the region of Périgord, France, where black truffles originated.
Black truffles are frequently cultivated on truffle farms and are easier to produce than white truffles, which is why they are easier to find. Typically, black truffles will grow on said farms, nestled in the roots of oak, hazelnut, pine, poplar, or beech trees.
They are known for their dark color as well as their deep, roasted aroma and taste.
The Taste and Smell of Black Truffles
Black truffles have been said to taste like many things. Primarily, their taste resembles their smell as both contain fresh, rich undertones that are similar to but stronger than those of mushrooms. Furthermore, the taste has been described as umami — a word that originated in Japan to describe the fifth flavor type we can taste and translates to savory.
Black truffles have a nutty, rich, deep flavor that is somewhat mushroomy with a decadent difference. While mushrooms and truffles are both fungi, truffles tend to taste more complex and suit a more sophisticated palate, hence their luxury and title as a delicacy.
Cooking With Black Truffles
As a delicacy, black truffles are often consumed as a topping or edible garnish on dishes rather than the main ingredient in a meal. You may find black truffles gently sliced or grated on top of dishes or lightly mixed into dishes in small increments in high-end restaurants.
In these small portions, black truffles are frequently paired with lavish cuts of red meat like Kobe beef. Furthermore, black truffles are often incorporated into pasta dishes featuring cheese, as the black truffle flavor profile adds a unique taste to the creaminess of the cheese.
Black Truffles: Accessible at Home
Even though black truffles are known as such an elegant dining experience, they can easily be included in at-home recipes.
Chefs don’t always use full, fresh, raw truffles in their dishes due to rarity and cost. Instead, they often use truffle-infused ingredients such as truffle mayo or truffle pasta sauce, which can feature real flecks of truffles. This allows for the truffle flavor to be incorporated into a dish without using raw truffles.
These truffle infused products are not only used in a restaurant by a professional chef. With products like our truffle-infused TRUFF Original Hot Sauce, any at-home chef can easily make decadent truffle recipes for themselves or their family and friends.
While black truffles are rare, white truffles are even more exclusive. Italian white truffles, known as Piedmont truffles, Tuber magnatum, or Alba truffles, are native to the region of Piedmont, Italy. These are some of the most expensive truffles in the world.
White truffles distinguish themselves from black truffles by their rarity as they are more difficult to harvest due to their fragility. Furthermore, these white truffles cannot be cultivated and farmed like black truffles. This means suppliers must rely on truffle sources that they harvest in the wild.
Thus, white truffles carry a slightly more elevated air of elegance and luxury that black truffles lack. Additionally, not only are white truffles rarer than black truffles, their flavor and scent differ as well.
The Taste and Smell of White Truffles
White truffles have a taste that is significantly softer and lighter than the taste of black truffles. The flavor and aroma of a white truffle are more subtle, with a tang similar to garlic alongside notes of pepper.
In general, both truffle types share the same fresh, rich undertone which is reflected differently in each. They also have similar nutty or oaky notes.
However, while black truffle oil is commonly used in at-home cooking, white truffle oil is less common. This is most likely because of numerous factors, including but not limited to how delicate white truffles are.
Cooking With White Truffles
Because of their lighter flavor, white truffles tend to be served differently than their darker counterparts. Though many upscale restaurants will serve white truffles grated on top of dishes alongside black truffles, they tend to be less common.
Due to their different flavor profile, white truffles will usually appear in different styles of dishes. While black truffles are paired with hearty, strong-tasting dishes like red meats, white truffles are often paired with light dishes like risotto, potatoes, and cheeses.
White Truffle Accessibility
Overall, as a result of their lighter flavor and increased rarity, white truffles typically aren’t served as casually as black truffles are.
However, white truffles are sometimes found in ingredients that are easy to use at home — like our TRUFF White Truffle Hot Sauce. Knowing the rarity and elegance of white truffles just makes it all the more exciting when you find ways they can be made more accessible for easy home cooking.
It should also be noted that this hot sauce comes in a black truffle variety with our TRUFF Original Hot Sauce. This goes to show that, although black truffles and white truffles usually pair with different dishes, food rules can always be broken.
Differentiating Between Truffle Types
Black truffles and white truffles are different in various ways. They come from different regions and one is easier to obtain than the other.
Furthermore, the most essential difference to note is how their tastes differ. Despite both having nutty, umami flavor notes, white truffles and black truffles are entirely different when it comes to taste.
White Truffles and Black Truffles: Same But Different
Never forget that truffles are incredibly versatile. Both white truffles and black truffles are unique and are respectively known for their particular food pairings. However, they don’t have to be restricted to what’s already expected of them.
If you’re interested in trying white or black truffles with a pairing that’s unexpected, don’t be afraid to do the unusual.
Both types of truffles are frequently paired with dishes that many would say sound bizarre before ever trying them, like truffles on desserts. So try something unique with your newly granted truffle knowledge — you never know what might come out of it.