Real Truffles vs. Chocolate Truffles: A Beginner's Guide

May 03, 2024

Tips & Tricks

Truffles 101: This guide separates the real from the chocolate.

The chocolate kind are rich and decadent sweet treats that are easy to make, with customizable flavors and perfect for holidays.

Deeply indulgent chocolate treat made from chocolate and cream.

The "real" truffles are a luxurious and highly sought-after food known for their distinctive aromas. Truffles are classified as a type of tuber, and out of nearly 100 varieties, only a few are both edible and appealing to the senses.

Black and white truffles are the most celebrated, with white truffles fetching a higher price due to their rarity and delicate nature.

The key to incorporating truffles into dishes lies in their unique aroma. Their intense earthiness can elevate any dish, but what beverages and foods truly complement this "king of fungi"?

Truffle Types

  • Black Truffles (Earthy & Bold): Earthy, garlicky, with hints of chocolate, these bolder truffles demand bolder partners.
  • White Truffles (Delicate & Sweet): Delicate, with a garlicky aroma and hints of honey and cheese, white truffles demand a lighter touch.

While black truffles can be frozen, white truffles cannot and only have a shelf life of about 10 days.

Truffle Pairing Tips

Flavor Matching

  • Earthy notes: Truffles naturally have an earthy aroma. Pair them with ingredients that share this quality, like mushrooms, root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips), and some cheeses.
  • Rich and fatty: Fatty ingredients like butter, cream, foie gras, and fatty cuts of meat (duck, pork belly) create a luxurious contrast with the truffles' earthiness.
  • Unique aroma: Truffles can enhance dishes with complementary aromas. Think garlic, shallots, chives, and herbs like thyme and rosemary.

Specific Food Pairings

  • Meats:
    • Black Truffles: Pair with red meat like steak, lamb, and venison for a powerful combination.
    • White Truffles: Enhance lighter meats like chicken, turkey, and veal with their delicate touch.
  • Seafood: Surprisingly, truffles can elevate seafood dishes! Use them sparingly with scallops, lobster, or prawns.
  • Eggs: A classic pairing! The richness of eggs creates a perfect base for the truffle's aroma. Consider truffle omelets, scrambled eggs, or pasta dishes with a creamy egg sauce.
  • Pasta: Both black and white truffles can elevate pasta dishes. Opt for simple sauces that highlight the truffles' flavor, like butter and sage or a light cream sauce.
  • Cheese: Choose strong cheeses with bold flavors that can stand up to the truffles. Some good options include Pecorino Romano, Fontina, or even blue cheese.

Drink Pairings

Black Truffles:

  • Wine: Full-bodied reds like Barolo, Barbaresco, or Côtes du Rhône with earthy or leathery notes will stand up to the black truffle's complexity.
  • Cocktails: Strongly flavored options like a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or even a smoky mezcal cocktail can hold their own against the black truffle's intensity.

White Truffles:

  • Wine: Light-bodied whites like Pinot Grigio, unoaked Chardonnay, or Arneis will complement the white truffle's subtle elegance.
  • Cocktails: Sparkling wines like Champagne or Prosecco cleanse the palate and enhance the white truffle's delicate character. A dry Martini can also be a refreshing choice.

Beyond the truffle type here are some additional pairing pointers:

  • Less is More: Truffles have a strong aroma, so use them sparingly to avoid overpowering the dish and choose pairings that enhance the overall flavor profile. A little goes a long way!
  • Freshness Matters: Fresh truffles have the most intense flavor. If using truffle oil, choose high-quality versions for a more authentic experience.
  • Shaved vs. Sliced: How the truffle is used matters. Shaved truffles add a subtle touch, while sliced truffles provide a more intense flavor burst. Choose based on your desired effect.
  • Seasonality: Black truffles are typically in season from November to March, while white truffles are harvested from September to December. Plan your truffle pairings around their availability for the freshest experience.

Truffle recipe ideas

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffles

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffles

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup mixed wild mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp truffle oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  • In a saucepan, heat the broth over low heat. Keep it warm while you prepare the risotto.
  • In a large skillet, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until softened.
  • Add the Arborio rice to the skillet and stir to coat with the onion and garlic mixture.
  • Pour in the white wine and cook until it is absorbed by the rice.
  • Begin adding the warm broth, one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed before adding the next ladleful. Continue this process until the rice is creamy and cooked to al dente, about 18-20 minutes.
  • Stir in the chopped wild mushrooms and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and truffle oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the risotto hot, garnished with fresh parsley and an extra drizzle of truffle oil if desired.

Truffle Ricotta Panna Cotta

Truffle Ricotta Panna Cotta

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp white truffle oil
  • 2 tsp gelatin powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup lambs lettuce


  • In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream and whole milk over medium heat until steaming but not boiling.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the gelatin powder with 2 tbsp of water and let it bloom for 5 minutes.
  • Whisk the ricotta cheese into the cream mixture until smooth. Stir in the bloomed gelatin until fully dissolved.
  • Season the mixture with truffle oil, salt, and pepper. Pour into ramekins and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set.
  • Before serving, top each panna cotta with a handful of lambs lettuce for freshness and crunch.

vs Chocolate Truffle

Decadent chocolate truffles with a variety of delicious coatings

Ingredients (12 servings)

  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, for rolling
  • Optional coatings: sprinkles, matcha powder, finely chopped nuts, freeze dried strawberries and raspberries


  • In a heatproof bowl, add the chopped chocolate.
  • In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it just begins to simmer.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute.
  • Stir the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate the mixture for 1-2 hours, or until firm.
  • Using a spoon or a melon baller, scoop out small portions of the chocolate mixture and roll into balls.
  • Roll each ball in cocoa powder to coat.
  • Refrigerate the truffles until ready to serve.

World Truffle Day is the perfect excuse to learn and indulge in this culinary treasure. So, grab your favorite truffles, explore these pairings, and experience the magic of the "king of fungi" for yourself!

Easy as one. two. Cook!

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