Selecting and buying truffles can be a sensory experience, and relying on your sense of smell is crucial. When choosing truffles to use at home, either shaved over your risotto or grated on top of your eggs, opt for those with a strong, earthy aroma, as it indicates freshness and quality. "The shape and the size [does] not really affect ... the quality," Vittorio Giordano, vice president of Urbani Truffles USA, says. "You can have great truffles that are small with the bumpy shape or you can really have a beautiful nice aroma out of a large truffle. When people ask me 'how do you pick your truffle?' ... I always say 'with my nose.'"
Truffle scent can be a marker of peak flavor. By smelling the truffles, you can assess the aroma and ensure that they are not spoiled or past their prime. Additionally, the aroma of truffles can vary depending on their variety and origin, allowing you to choose the type that best suits your culinary preferences. "What is very, very important is to smell the truffle and to pick what you like," Giordano says. "Truffle is a combination of 120 different aromas. The combination that is appealing for you, that you like, that means that's your truffle."
What Do Truffles Smell Like?
Truffles have a distinct and potent aroma that is often described as earthy, musky, and pungent. This aroma is reminiscent of damp soil, garlic, nuts, and even a hint of Parmesan cheese. Some individuals may even pick up hints of leather, vanilla, or even gasoline. Depending on the variety and freshness of the truffle, its scent may vary slightly, but all truffles generally possess these characteristic earthy notes. Truffle scent is strong and unique, which is why it is difficult to draw a comparison to any other ingredient. This intense aroma is what makes truffles highly sought after in culinary circles and adds depth and richness to dishes.
A truffle's scent comprises a collection of different organic compounds, each species including its own mix of things like alcohol, ketones, aldehydes, aromatic, and sulfur compounds. Human olfactory receptors vary from person to person so while someone may find the smell of black truffle alluring, another may find it disgusting.
How To Store Your Truffles For Peak Freshness
You've relied on your nose to help select the perfect truffles (maybe even at Costco, which surprisingly sells winter black truffles). Now you must be sure to store them in a way that ensures they stay pungent and fresh until use. Vittorio Giordano of Urbani Truffles USA suggests wrapping each truffle individually in a paper towel and placing them in a glass jar, such as a mason jar, with a lid. Keep the jar in the refrigerator until ready to use. The paper towel will wick away excess moisture and the sealed container will guarantee that the strong truffle odor doesn't infiltrate the other items in your fridge.
When you're ready to enjoy a truffle, simply take one out of the container and use a brush to wipe away any dirt or grime. Take a truffle shaver and pare off a thin piece to adorn your pasta, steak, or dish of choice, and enjoy!
Read the original article on Daily Meal.