How to select truffles

Let’s admit it, we’re all going gaga again for truffles as November arrives. Gourmet Food Guide has been out talking to specialists and cosying up to cute and wonderful truffle hunting dogs in our quest to uncover some inside tips on truffle selection. Truffles are the diamonds of gastronomy. But, how do you ensure that you’re buying the best quality gastronomic diamond? After all, the successful selection of these sexy little nuggets of exquisite sensory overload require a little more than a discerning nose and deep pockets when truffle season comes around.

Gourmet Food Guide have taken tips from veteran growers in France and

Italy to bring you a run down of the basics.

Firstly, you should look for a truffle with an undamaged surface. It should sound solid when you knock it and feel heavy for its size. This means that it hasn’t frozen or lost its moisture.


Inside, it should display a fine lacework of white-on-black veins, as pictured. The less tasty tuber brumale truffle is also white-veined, but the veins are thicker and further apart.

A winter truffle which is matte white inside is unripe. And truffles will not mature further once they’ve been dug out of the ground, so it’s basically useless.

It’s common practice to ask a seller to slice off (canifer) a corner of a truffle with a penknife so that you can inspect the inside – but you won’t be popular at all if you try to do this yourself!

Don’t worry about the waste: the seller won’t throw away the precious off-cut slice, but will save it for a bye-product such as truffle-infused pâté or cheese. A grower might also use scraps or inferior truffles for fertiliser or to prime truffle oak saplings.

In November, you’re likely to find a high proportion (around 30 per cent) of these unripe white truffles. The percentage will decrease as the season goes on.

Truffles, obviously, vary in size: large ones can weigh well over 300 grams / 10.5 ounces. It’s widely considered that most of the flavour is concentrated inside the truffle so, from this point of view, the bigger the better.

On the other hand, truffles are sold whole and never cut in half. Since most private buyers don’t want a huge one, the most popular truffles weigh between 30 and 80 grams / one and three ounces.

Storing truffles Some people grumble that truffles are sold with an extra coating of mud just to increase their weight. But in fact they should not be cleaned until just before use. Rinse them and brush the mud off gently. Truffles should be eaten within a few days of purchase. Keep them in the fridge. It’s possible to freeze truffles but they will lose a lot of their taste.

Like so much about trufficulture, everyone seems to have a passionately held opinion and we heard conflicting, even directly contradictory advice about the best way to store them.

Some recommend wrapping them in a dishcloth and urge against using a sealed jar. Some are also opposed to the common practice of placing the truffles among eggs: “The eggshells soak up all the flavour, and then you throw them away.”

Others disagree completely. “Eggshells are porous and the eggs absorb the aroma,” says one of our favourite French chefs as he fishes a big truffle out of his eggbox to prepare poached eggs with truffle cream for our supper.

Give us your tips and feedback via the comments section and don’t forget to check out our nominations form to nominate a supplier, grower, chef or recipe for these delectable, sexy fungi.

Best Gourmet Providore Nominations

We are excited to report that nominations for our International Gourmet Food Guide Awards 2021 have been pouring in over the last few months and our reviews have begun.

Providore – A Quick History

Providore/Provedore – is the rather grand-sounding name which increasingly refers to the store which provides the staples or specialist eating house. International Gourmet Food Guide is looking for the best Gourmet Providore for our 2021 Awards.

In the Middle Ages, the city of Venice was a strategic City-State and desirable to many who desired to capture its status and position. Thus, throughout its history, it had to defend itself. The term ‘providore‘ described the military guard responsible for securing and protecting food and provisions for the City. The root of the word the Latin provideo – “I foresee”

Nomination Best Independent Gourmet Providore: Gourmet Life

Gourmet Life was recently nominated by one of our Instagram followers. This delightful, independent, well stocked providore is based in Sydney, Australia and owned by Josh Rea who has broad experience in the fine food market, having worked closely with leading Australian importers and wholesalers, and with numerous delicatessens, butchers, fishermen and fishmongers, farmers, renowned chefs and five star restaurants, and with people who are simply fine food fanatics. As a result of the nomination, we recently reviewed their extensive supply of Oscietra Black River Caviar, Spanish cockles, Italian white truffles, St James Scottish smoked salmon, Julian Martin Jamon Iberico de Bellota and Radicchio Rosso di Treviso IGP

Details of the individual product reviews will be posted via our Instagram page @gourmetfoodguide over the coming weeks.

Video footage supplied by @thegourmetguru888

Other nominations for Best Gourmet Providore received so far by International Gourmet Food Guide include Simon Johnson, the iconic food hall at Harrods of London and historic providores to the Royal Family, Fortnum and Mason! We will be diligently working through further nominations for all award categories as they continue to arrive and will be busy filming reviews in Italy, France, United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong and USA over the first eight months of 2019. Details of our award categories and process for nominations can be found via our Awards Info page. Follow us on Instagram @gourmetfoodguide

Awards Info

Even though the world’s gone a little crazy, the gathering together of friends and family over food and wine remains one of life’s precious treasures. We’re currently pulling together nominations for the GFG Awards 2021. Gourmet Food means different things to different people. It can be simple, it can be extravagant but one element that remains consistent is the time and love put into producing something delicious. For 2021, GFG are looking at nominations for those meet this criteria whether you are a chef, cook at home, grow your own food, make your own wine or supply others with quality produce. We’re particularly interested in local heroes, so if you know one or are one then we’d like to hear from you!