The Differences Between White And Black Truffles

Any list of the most luxurious foods has to include truffles. The nutty, earthy, umami taste of these fungi is unmistakable, and can be used to heighten anything from pasta to french fries. While all truffles are delicacies in their own right, two varieties top the charts in popularity. Black and white truffles are perhaps the most popular truffles out there, and although they both can be described as sumptuous, exclusive treats, they also have many characteristics that distinguish one from the other.


White truffles are significantly more expensive than their black counterparts. This is because they are rather rare, and unlike black truffles, cannot be commercially harvested. Instead, white truffles can only be found in the wild. Depending on where you source your truffles from, the white variety can be over double the price of black truffles, which aren't cheap to begin with. A pound of black truffles can cost over $2,000, while white truffles are almost $5,000 per pound. Any truffle is a treat, but at those prices, white truffles are a true treasure.

White truffles are much harder to find

Black truffles are native to Southern Europe, namely France and Spain, but can be cultivated in other countries. In recent years, Australia and the United States have started to grow truffles. White truffles, on the other hand, are confined to certain parts of Italy. Both types of truffle grow in forested areas, and are generally only in season during late fall, after they have absorbed nutrients from neighboring dormant trees. Many truffle cultivators use dogs to sniff out truffles. There was a time when pigs were also used to hunt for the fungi, but since pigs are more likely to eat the truffle once they find it, dogs became the truffle hunters of choice.


Compared to black truffles, white truffles are much more difficult to grow in a controlled manner. This is because any change in their environment can significantly alter their growth. On top of that, white truffles are extremely fragile, and can easily be damaged when picked. These factors only add to white truffles' already astronomical price tag.

Flavor differences between the truffles

The exorbitant price tag of truffles may sound unappetizing, but for many, the taste is worth it. The good news for your wallet is that truffles are pretty pungent, which means that usually it only takes a few shavings to impart food with their flavor. Both white and black truffles have a woodsy, rich, savory taste. White truffles have additional notes of pepper and garlic, and an overall less heavy flavor than black truffles. The taste of black truffles is a bit more earthy, and reminiscent of mushrooms.


Fortunately, you don't necessarily have to fork over huge sums of money to integrate truffles into your recipes. There are many products on the market that have been infused with truffle flakes that are much more affordable than trying to buy actual truffles. These products, which include truffle oil, butter, mayo, and more, let you utilize the truffle taste without breaking the bank. If you decide to invest in a truffle-infused oil or even raw truffles, add black truffles to heavy dishes like red meat, and white truffles to lighter fare like pasta to get the most out of each unique variety.