The Relationship Between Truffle Salt and Aroma
Truffles are a delicacy that comes from the earth, and the term for the best truffle of them all is "truffle". But what is a truffle? Is it a type of mushroom, a form of salt, or a type of food? Let's find out!
A truffle, in the literal sense, is actually the fruiting bodies of a small underground ascomycetous fungus, most of which are only known to belong to the genus Truffles. In addition to Tuber, other fungi have been identified as truffles, such as Geopora, Peziza, Choiromyces, Leucatinium, and a hundred others. The word "truffle" itself is taken from French, meaning "little mushroom", hence the name. This may be why when one states that black truffle sea salt tastes like chocolate, this is actually referring to the fact that the ingredients have somewhat come off of the mushrooms when curing them.
In its literal sense, a truffle salt tastes like chocolate. But this may not be entirely correct. Many varieties of truffles can be made with ingredients that do not have a very strong odor, such as vanilla extract and other flavoring agents. Although these do not technically qualify as truffle salt and hence will not give you the same salty, sweet, and spicy taste of this type of salt, they will nevertheless contribute to the overall flavor and appeal of these products.
When people think of truffle flavor, they typically think of the French, where this pastry item is a standard pastry staple. But in truth, truffle salt is derived from salmons which are used to flavor other foods, such as the famous raspberry coulis. The Swiss also make this dough with the peel of their lemon, which you can then grind to produce your own special salt.
It is strange but true that the flavor of this salt has been around for such a long time, in fact, it has probably been a staple food for many cultures. This is because of the distinctive smell that the juice of these fruits has, which is very similar to that of fresh lemons. This unique smell has long been associated with many different foods, from nuts to meats, and even wine! A more recent connection has been made between truffle salt and aroma. This means that the salty smell can actually act as an aroma when mixed with certain foods.
Although not technically considered truffle salt, black truffle salt is sometimes included in recipe ingredients to give the dish an authentic truffle flavor. Although this is the more common form, it is not unknown for white truffle salt to be sold as well. The difference between the two is that while the black variety contains only minerals found in the earth's crust, the white variety contains more oil. This oily variety adds a distinct flavor to foods that it contains and also has a somewhat unique aroma. This variety is used primarily for bread and chips, although it is also found in candies, ice cream, and carbonated drinks.
Another connection between truffle salt and aroma is its use as a finishing salt. Although not an essential ingredient in Italian cooking, it does lend an extra bit of zing to anything that is prepared to use it, which makes it a popular addition to many Italian dishes. As it is easily used in starchy dishes, this finishing salt has a unique effect on the delicate flavor of the pasta and can be softened by the addition of lemon or milk. For example, in tomato sauce, it works well to simply mix with the tomato juice, then whisk in olive oil, salt, and some pepper.
It is not surprising that truffle salt finds itself being added to various foods that call for a salty taste such as those coming from cheeses and pastas. In fact, it is a very versatile food seasoning even outside of Italy. Traditionally, it was added to Italian black truffles, but today it is found on many dishes that are prepared with such ingredients as fresh mushrooms or meat. It is also used in a wide range of fine cuisine in Europe, although the trend appears to be moving toward the more exotic flavors of the Middle East. Regardless of where the flavor originated, it has become an important addition to culinary traditions throughout much of the developed world.