Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Truffles Case Essay Example for Free

Truffles Case Essay Mushrooms, in general, and truffles, in particular, occupy very important place in modern art of cooking. In cuisines of many countries mushrooms are used as competent and delicious substitution for meat. Mushrooms are great with potato and pasta; also they are used in salads and in different soups. Truffles are extremely delicious and popular. The most famous French food lover and bon vivant Jean Brillat Savarin called them â€Å"diamonds of the kitchen†. (Wikipedia) Truffles are special and unique mushrooms, because they grow up and can be found only underground, in symbiotic relationship with some definite species of trees. Truffles are mushrooms of spherical irregular shape, which diameter varies from 5 to 20 cm. Despite of long lasted difficulties with cultivation of this fungus, now truffles are grown in Europe, Africa, Asia and Northern America. The best season for picking truffles is from May to September. Truffles have rather long history. Their origin is unknown: once they were found and started being used for making meals more delicious and tasty. But there are numerous historical recordings about attempts to cultivate truffles. Many rich people dreamt about big truffle fields, which could bring incredible profits and fame, but the majority of early attempts to domesticate truffles failed. First recordings about the truffles are left from the times of Roman Empire. Actually, the Romans used a terfez mushroom, which was similar to truffles in shape, but had slight rose paleness and specific taste. Terfez came to Roman Empire from Greece and the territories of the Middle East, that’s why it was sometimes called as â€Å"desert truffle†. It had unique property to intensify the other flavors of meals, so it was really great for bright and spicy cuisine of Roman times. In XVII – XVIII centuries the truffles were very popular in France and Italy. It was still quite hard to cultivate truffles, and that’s why they could be afforded only be wealthy people, including the courts of French Kings. In those times culinary specialists used to cook different types of meals with truffles, but the peak of the art was truffled turkey. Besides, truffles were known not only for their excellent taste, but also with their aphrodisiac and medical qualities. (Savarin) There is a great variety and diversity of truffles. A number of similar subterranean fungi is called â€Å"false truffles†, which look and taste quite similar to real truffles, but can be poisonous. There are only three species of real truffles, which have the greatest commercial and culinary value. Generally, there are black truffles (Tuber Melanosporum) and white truffles (Tuber Magnatum), which slightly vary depending on their taste and place of cultivation. It is supposed that the best black truffles are being cultivated in the south-east of France, though there are also big territories of truffle production in Spain, Italy and other European countries. French black truffle is from 2 to 15 cm. It is cultivated on special fields and can be collected from about 20 cm underground. The researchers found out that truffle produces special chemical substance, which is similar to steroids of male pigs. That is why pigs and specially trained dogs help people to find truffles below the soil. Recently the amount and quality of truffles produced is decreasing, that is why specialists started mentioning so called â€Å"cycles of truffle cultivation†. In the end of XX century France used to produce 30-60 tones of truffles every year, but recently the production is considerably lower. The main reason for it is, certainly, worsening of environmental conditions, which is characterized by de-forestation and acid rains. That is why recently some lack of investments into truffle cultivation industry takes place. The best time for collecting black truffles is January, because at this time truffles are at the peak of their taste and perfume properties. The price for truffles on French market varies from USD 110-330 per pound, depending on season. There are also so called summer black truffles, which are very close to winter truffles in their taste properties. The best white truffles are cultivated in northern Italy. They are supposed to be superior to French black truffles in taste and aroma. That is why Italian white truffles are much more expensive: in autumn, when they appear at the market, their price can reach USD 2000 per pound. There are some legendary unique Italian truffles, which are sold in luxury auctions. In the year 2005 a 2.6 pound truffle was sold for USD 112,000, considerably surpassing the price for truffles at previous auctions. In 2004 a truffle weighing 1.9 pound was sold for USD 50,000, but shortly after it got decayed in refrigerator due to incorrect preserving. Two types of truffles are cultivated in China. Chinese products are called Tuber sinensis and Tuber himalayensis. Their taste and aroma qualities are much poorer. Also, these sorts of truffles are much less pungent than their European analogs, and their texture is rather different: Chinese truffles are much softer and rubbery. That is why Chinese truffles are much cheaper at the market. Frequently, Chinese smugglers import such truffles to Europe and illegally sell as high-quality truffles. Also, some types of black truffles are being successfully cultivated in New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia, Northern Africa and the Middle East. In the USA first truffles Tuber gibbosum were found in the end of XIX century in California by Dr. H.W. Harkness. Nowadays, there are two most advanced places of producing truffles in the United States: in Texas and in Oregon. Recently, there are about 60 species of hypogenous mushrooms are grown in our country, and some of them are absolutely new for science. Oregon truffle plantations are the most advanced and profitable: here truffle cultivation started in 1985, when a tree farmer tried to inoculate Tuber species close to specially planted trees. First attempts to cultivate truffles this way proved to be successful, and soon the harvest reached 200-300 pounds per acre. Oregon truffles do not have intense aroma of European ones, but instead they have very special flavor. There are many truffle lovers and admirers in the United States, who enjoy eating these miraculous mushrooms. Also, a number of organizations, like Oregon Mycological Society or the North American Truffling Society, carry out some special biological and genetic researches, develop new technologies for more productive cultivation, and supply our market with fresh and jarred quality truffles of our own production. These products can be found in many supermarkets, and they are quite affordable. Truffles have to be prepared for cooking as usual mushrooms: they must be washed very carefully, brushed, dried with a towel, and then peeled. Some white quality truffles can be used even raw, because taste characteristics and aroma of white truffles is especially sensitive to any heat. That is why it is better simply to slice fresh peeled truffles onto a salad or other dish. At the same time, it was discovered that white truffles can recollect their wonderful aroma and taste after processing and jarring. Black truffles (both winter and summer ones) are mostly used as a little cooked products. The majority of advanced gourmands do not suggest mixing winter and summer black truffles due to some slight differences in their delicate flavors. But, at the same time, using jarred winter and summer black truffles is absolutely possible, especially for different dishes with white meat and poultry. Many specialists criticize jarred black truffles, saying that their usual taste is lost. But the other specialists, on the contrary, find jarred black truffles to be enriched with special spicy flavor, which is usually absent in fresh ones. Truffles are very easy to be preserved in butter or oil, and they taste incredible both as fresh and jarred. Besides, truffles can become perfect additives for many foodstuffs, as vinegar or butter. Truffles enrich such products with their natural exotic flavor, make them creamy and balsamic, and considerably improve their quality. Italians add extracts from black or white truffles into their premium quality olive oil. Only couple of drops of such divine oil can bring special and piquant taste to any salad or sauce. Exceptional taste of truffles is incomparable accompaniment of different dishes with potato (especially mashed potato), macaroni and pasta, chicken and fish, omelets or dishes with rice (especially risotto). Truffles are perfect components for different salads, sauces and especially fillings. Truffled roasted meat and truffled eggs are real masterpieces of culinary art, along with French cheesy Fonduta with truffles, which is one of the most popular dishes in modern France and Italy. Meals with truffles go especially great with white wine. In addition, truffled food is not only extremely delicious and unforgettable, but it is also very healthy. There are many people, who afraid and avoid eating mushrooms, but some dishes with truffles are really worth to be tried! Eating truffles is quite safe, because they do not cause problems with digestion or any other unpleasant symptoms. That is why for very long time truffles remain among the most desirable and admirable foods all around the world! Bibliography: †¢ Freedman, Louise. Wild about Mushrooms: Truffles. MSSF. Mycological Society of San Francisco. Ed. William Freedman. 2000. 12 Dec. 2005 †¢ Savarin, Brillat. The Physiology of Taste: or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy Counterpoint Press, October, 2000, ISBN: 1582431035, 464 p. †¢ Truffle. Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia Online. 7 Dec. 2005. 12 Dec. 2005

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