Everybody knows that white truffles are rare… and expensive. But why do they routinely cost over £6,000 per kilo? Why are the white truffles unearthed in Italy – also known as Alba truffles – each year never enough to fill the demand for them worldwide? And why should you invest in white truffle sea salt, a gourmet seasoning if there ever was one? Find out here.
It’s because these white truffles are the gold standard in flavour. Their taste profile can’t be replicated (scientists have tried). There is literally nothing else like them. And because they’re so rare (and getting rarer), they’ve become the luxury commodity of foods. They must be foraged for by pigs and truffle-hunting dogs in the small Piedmont region of northwest Italy during three months out of the year, and each year fewer truffles are uncovered.
White truffles have a strange smell but a complex and delicate flavour. So what should you do with the most expensive food in the world? And how to you get those truffle flavours without spending thousands of pounds?
Start with one of Zest & Zing’s best sellers, our White Truffle Sea Salt, to get that earthy, intense aroma and flavour without the crazy cost. Truffle salt provides an instant upgrade to your dishes, making them more complex with just a little pinch. The rich flavour added by this salt makes it worth the investment in your pantry.
So what can you do with white truffle sea salt? Need some inspiration? When it comes to food pairings, simple is always better. You wouldn’t want to drown out ” the diamond of the kitchen” with any overly assertive ingredients.
Consider using truffle salt with simpler dishes, like you would if actually had a real white truffle within your grasp (um, lucky you). Risotto, pasta, and egg dishes like plain omelettes, scrambled eggs, or poached eggs are the very best pairings.
Look to the Italians in Alba who’ve been living amongst these treasures for years. They serve it with a homemade yolk tajarin (similar to tagliatelle, but thinner) and other eggy pastas and risottos, as well as fried eggs and even boiled eggs. They make a great vehicle for the truffle without interrupting or diluting its flavour. The Italians also shave white truffles over roast veal and serve slivers with hard local cheeses.
Just as you wouldn’t want to cook the white truffle and risk having it lose its intense flavour – you’d grate it over your dish at the end – you’ll want to use white truffle seat salt at the end of cooking to add a little punch of umami to your finished plate.
While it might not seem obvious to pair the most expensive food in the world with one of the cheapest, it actually makes perfect sense. Potatoes let the truffle flavours shine. Try our white truffle sea salt on your everyday mash to create indulgent Truffled Mashed Potatoes (use our blend at the end of cooking instead of stirring in truffle oil). Or try these Parmesan Truffle Mashed Potatoes which are even more rich with the addition of sour cream and salty Parmesan cheese.
For a casual take on the normally elegant truffle, try making fries with this recipe for Baked Parmesan Truffle Fries. Normally we’d never suggest such a pairing if you were paying for a fresh white truffle, but with our sea salt blend, you can afford to experiment! And with garlic powder, parsley, parmesan, and olive oil, there’s no way these won’t be good.
Now, you could just pair any creamy or buttery pasta with our white truffle sea salt (and it’ll be delicious). But go the extra mile here and make some homemade pasta – you’ll really be rewarded with luxury. Make it by hand using a rolling pin (or your pasta maker) with this simple Tajarin with White Truffle recipe. Take a cue from the Italians with these basic ingredients – eggs, flour, and salt – for the pasta, and merely add butter, Parmesan, and white truffle sea salt to serve it up. Top it with some fried sage if you’re really feeling like a professional.
Shop Zest & Zing's gourmet white truffle sea salt here!
Pair that truffle flavour with the cheaper variety of mushrooms and a bunch of cream when you make this Fettuccine with White Truffle Butter and Mushrooms. Just use regular butter and truffle sea salt instead of truffle butter, making sure to keep an eye on how salty things taste. And if you must, buy some fresh-made pasta from the supermarket to simplify this recipe.
For another casual yet indulgent take on truffles, try this comfort food-style Mushroom and White Truffle Mac and Cheese. Just substitute a little olive oil for the truffle oil to attain the right consistency and finish the dish with white truffle sea salt instead. (Again, make sure to taste test so you don’t over salt anything!) The combination of thyme, baby portobello mushrooms, and truffle will make this a real earthy take on a classic. Of course, you can always make a basic Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese and add truffle sea salt at the end!
Maybe you hadn’t considered pizza, but of course it’s conducive to all sorts of toppings. And since people drizzle pizza with truffle oil on occasion, why not add a little truffle sea salt? This flavour combination works better with white pizzas (those without a tomato sauce as a base) that don’t contain assertive or spicy meats. Try this homemade Mushroom Pizza with Havarti Cheese, Fresh Herbs, and White Truffle, substituting the truffle oil when it’s finished baking to add new depths. The combination of mushrooms, cheeses, rosemary, black pepper, thyme, garlic, and truffle make this a super flavourful, herby, and fancy pizza. (And no, you don’t have to make your own dough!)
This Pizza with Mushrooms and Mozzarella and a sprinkling of truffle salt is slightly simpler. And this rustic Burrata, Chive, and Truffle Salt Pizza looks both easy and fabulous. (You can use fresh mozzarella if you can’t find burrata.)
Risotto is a fabulous way to try truffles, and again, you’ll want to keep the flavours simple here. Try this Risotto with Truffle and Parmesan. The addition of white wine and black pepper is all you need to make this basic, yet refined dish satisfying and rich. If you want to add a little bit of veg to your risotto without compromising its delicate flavours, how about this Risotto with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms, and Truffles? Or try this recipe for Spinach, Herb and Parmesan Risotto that uses fresh basil leaves and truffle salt.
Finish your soups with truffle salt too! For a corn soup like you’ve never tasted before, try this fresh Truffled Corn Soup. It’s garnished with chives, black pepper, and truffle salt at the end for complexity. It’s super simple and you can serve it warm or chilled. Elevate potato soup with the addition of white truffle sea salt, like this Smashed Red Potato Soup that also contains spices like jalapeño pepper and smoked paprika. Butternut Squash Soup with Sage is also a good candidate for sprinkling with this borderline transcendent salt.
Finally, if you’re feeling really cavalier, sprinkle a white truffle sea salt on your popcorn! Don’t believe me? Here’s how to instantly upgrade your snack with a little olive oil and truffle salt.
White truffle sea salt gives you the most bang for your buck in terms of the way it makes basic dishes both indulgent and impressive. It’s sure to become a secret staple in your pantry, and it’s way more affordable than buying even a couple slivers of the real thing. A few pinches added to any plate and the subtle yet complex flavours will enhance your cooking instantly, giving them that luxuriously rich taste you can only get with truffles.
Shop Zest & Zing’s White Truffle Seat Salt now!
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Since it's Global Entrepreneurship Week, I thought I'd explain exactly how the idea for Zest & Zing came about. I learned to cook some years ago back when I was living in France simply because I was so inspired by the quality of the truly fresh produce available there...