Truffles: The Most Expensive Food On The Planet
We took a 3-hour train ride from Zurich, relishing every bit of the scenic journey, to reach Como. Located right at the meeting juncture of southern and western shores of the spectacular Lake Como, it is a small scenic town in Italy.
The Celtic charm of Italy fascinates me and so does its culinary delights. I’ve always been marveled by the bountiful of things that the country has exposed me to, over my last trips. The days in Como were spent walking and boating, sampling local delicacies and admiring the beautiful lake. On a leisurely walk-through of the local market, I discovered a treasure trove of what happens to be one of the world’s most expensive foods – Truffle.
‘Giuliano Tartufi’ is an interesting store in the heart of Como, selling truffle-based items, right from antipasto, carbonara, frittata to truffle sauce, ketchup, vinaigrette and even truffle flavored nuts like pistachios, cashew, almonds, and hazelnut.
Truffle is basically a fungus which grows underneath the ground on roots of trees like oak and beeches. In Italy, truffle hunters train dogs to sniff out the underground truffles. The pigs are also sometimes employed to sniff out the precious fungus but they tend to eat it once they find and so dogs are the preferred truffle hunters.
There are various types of truffles such as white truffle, black winter truffle, summer truffle, bianchetto truffle and hooked truffle. This precious fungus can cost around $6,000 to $10,000 per pound.
Before my visit to Giuliano Tartufi, the only use of truffles I knew was as raw shavings to garnish the dishes. I sampled various truffle-based products here while Alessandra, the truffle expert, briefed me about the truffles. The store is completely dedicated to truffle with as many as 80 products. It conceived out of a childhood hobby of Giuliano Martinelli, the owner, who used to wander in the woods in search of truffles with his dog Leda.
Interestingly, truffles are an item of such awe that Italy hosts various grand fairs and festivals, dedicated especially to truffles throughout the year. The aroma of truffles is so pleasant that it feels like cologne. It has a slight garlicky taste with a pungent musky smell which works like magic in the recipes. A drizzle of truffle can turn around the entire taste of a dish.
Another thing that piqued my curiosity at the store was – Truffle Ring, which is also the logo of the brand. It was an ornamental finger ring with three little truffles like structures, probably a pun on the ridiculously high price of truffles.
So, are you planning a trip to Italy to savour this fancy food? Just stay tuned, I have got a couple of more exciting things to share from the Italy trip, might help you to plan your travel better.