This week we spoke with a wild truffle harvester from south Spain and he told me how truffle tarders told him how his truffles were especially aromatic. He said the soil where truffles develop mark their scent .In MF & A, we use truffles from different origins, and we also noticed how their aroma is so different and peculiar. Why?
Each truffle has a scent and for me it’s very difficult to define: borchii tends to the garlic, the black truffle remeber forest soil, others with more grace, as Mark Whitfield writes in The Wall Street Journal about the differences between Italian white and black truffle, and how the different chefs prefer more of an Umbrian black truffle than a Perigord one …
The fact is that the aroma of truffles comes from a mixture of volatile compounds, in the case of black truffles (Tuber melanosporum) they are 50 different!, Though 17 are the ones that give character to its flavor, and of these, only two, dimethyl sulfide and 2-Methylbutanal, are the most characteristic. In fact, these two mixed correctly mimic quite well the aroma of black truffles, and these 2 compounds have been used a few years ago to develope artificial products (truffle aromas, truffled butter and products to train dogs as Canitruf), although they lack the complexity of the natural aroma of the black truffle.
In the case of the white truffle (Tuber magnatum) a single compound, bis (methylthio) methane, is the largest contributor to the aroma and thus for decades been used to produce artificial aromas of white truffle.
These volatile compounds are not just produced by the truffles themselves, but some rely on soil bacteria and yeasts that surround them and that is why the aroma of each truffle is different depending on where it has been harvested and perhaps the truffle man from the south of Spain was right thinking that their truffles are the best …
All the best,