By: Dr Mohammad Anas Nadwi Sydney Australia
ANIC Halal Authority – Sydney [email protected]
What is Truffle?
Truffle is a kind of edible
fungus grow in the shape of potato with litchi shell, these fungus accumulate underground near the roots of tree. Some of the truffle species are highly prized as a food. The most common types of truffles are white truffles and black truffles. They are often compared to gold or diamonds because of their price.
Truffles grow in the earth in forested areas; usually in the shade near trees. They can be found most dominantly in Europe and the Middle East. They are especially famous in France and Italy. The French black truffle and the Italian white truffle are like diamonds in the culinary world. They are rare and have to be excavated deep within the dirt like a potato or ginger. Truffles are expensive for a number of reasons. They’re incredibly hard to find, grow in very specific weather conditions, and very hard to store. It does not have long shelf live. The price of 100g truffle could be around $300-400
Even though they’re quite expensive, they taste absolutely divine and add an earthy and umami flavour to any dish they’re added to. They have very strong smell and contain the earthiness and musky flavour of some popular above ground mushrooms.
The reason why they are usually referred to as a mushroom is because they are a fungus much like a mushroom and are found in the woods; However mushrooms are a type of fungus that grow above ground and truffles are subterranean which is they are not technically “mushrooms”.
Black truffles also lend an amazing, earthy flavour to dishes that you would normally cook mushrooms in. White truffles which is found in Italy, on the other hand, are usually served raw and are shaved onto a dish similar to how you would shave cheese.
The flavour of black truffles is far less pungent and more refined than that of white truffles. Its strong flavour is often described as syrupy sweet. Black truffles also are used for producing truffle salt and truffle honey
Inoculated truffle trees are planted in orchards much like those for fruits and nuts. Truffle fruit appears after five to six year of plantation of trees, and is usually harvested with the help of trained dogs or pigs that can smell the truffles through a layer of earth.
The truffle hog or truffle pig is a domestic pig used for locating and extracting a type of tuber known as truffles from temperate forests in Europe and North America. The pigs have a good sense of smell and are able to identify truffles from as deep as three feet underground. Traditionally in Europe truffles were harvested by female pigs because the volatile compounds ripe truffles release are similar to pheromones emitted from a male pig and also pigs have a natural affinity for rooting in the earth for food. They are trained to hunt truffles by walking on a leash through suitable groves with a keeper.
Truffle oil is used as a lower-cost and convenient substitute for truffles, to provide flavouring, or to enhance the flavour and aroma of truffles in cooking. Most “truffle oil”, however, does not contain any truffles. The vast majority is olive oil which has been artificially flavoured using a synthetic agent such as 2, 4-dithiapentane.
While in the past chefs used to peel truffles, in modern times, most restaurants brush the truffle carefully and shave it or dice it with the skin on so as to make the most of this valuable ingredient.
A chocolate truffle is a type of chocolate confectionery, traditionally made with a chocolate ganache centre coated in chocolate, icing sugar, cocoa powder or chopped toasted nuts, usually in a spherical, conical, or curved shape.
What most people don’t know is that chocolate truffles are aptly named “truffles” because of their resemblance to a real truffle. These delicious chunks of chocolate mimic the shape and size of a truffle in addition to having dusted coco powder on them to symbolize the dirt. That’s about the extent of the similarity.
Is Truffle Halal? Does it needs to be certified Halal?
Truffles is an edible mushroom and I do not see anything haram in eating it. Black or white truffles is a mushroom species and is plant matter and non-animal variety hence it is completely halal according to Shariah point of view. The doubtful part is the contamination level during the harvesting stage (with the Najasah Mughallazah-pig or dog saliva) and storage of the Truffle (Thoyibban) especially when you have an animal within the premise. Only Halal certifiers would be able to guarantee the Halalness.
Farmed Truffles uses modern-agriculture without traces of pigs and dogs as hunting animals would be an answer to produce Halal Truffles.
Keep in mind, truffle-oil would probably Halal friendly since it used olive oil as artificial flavouring. For Chocolate Truffle, beware the use of rum or other alcohol for coating the candy etc.