Smell or taste of the truffle is very difficult to explain solely by the plain words. To make things more complicated and definitely interesting same type of truffle varies in smell and taste according to the location. (Dedulle & Coninck) in their research concluded that varies in smell and taste is due truffle ability to adapts to the complex biological structure of the soil and the environment in which it’s growing. Combine exotic spices and garlic, then add the scent of broadleaved trees after a rainfall. Gather together all these smells and impressions and you’ll have something that comes close to the scent of a truffle. Which comes close, nothing more, they said.
It is interesting to mention that distinctive truffle scent comes from a molecule called androstenone. Androstenone contributes to the brand truffle musk aroma. The same hormone is also produced by male pigs, so it is the reason why female pigs are inborn excellent truffle hunters. Scientist are still trying to understand why everyone perceive androstenone differently and what it so mysterious in truffle scent. Some small percent of people lack the ability to detect the molecule in truffle while other enjoy the smell and taste.
According to the latest research from Cardiff University in Wales, it can seem strange but it is almost impossible to meet a truffle hater among cooks and kitchen workers. Last year scientist Tim Jacob and his colleagues from Cardiff University in Wales have published a report on the research in which three times a day the test subjects inhaled androstenone in quantities approximately equal to its content in truffles. At the end of the week those test subjects who didn’t earlier recognize any smell started to feel “honey-straw-earth-like, quite nice smell”, – Jacob says. Perhaps restaurant employees deal with truffles often enough to feel their aroma and enjoy it. (2)
So, the more and more you experiment with truffles, eat and taste it, you will enjoy them and appreciate even more.
(1) Dedulle, A., Coninck, T. (2009). Truffles: Earth’s Black Diamonds. Ontario, ON: Firefly Books.
(2) McLaughlin, K. (2005). Truffle Lovers, Truffle Haters – its Chemistry. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com (The Wall Street Journal)