A truffle, also known as a Calabash or Necocarpus, is a hard, dry, crumbly sweet, tiny black powdery mushroom that is found in France, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain. The term “truffle” is thought to have been first used in 1612 by the French botanist, Jacques-Louis Levasse. A truffle can be described as being a mushroom that has gills. It is round in shape with an original diameter of about three to four inches and a height of about two and a half inches. The top surface may have many different colors from white, grey, black to yellow. The appearance of a black truffle may vary from a light gray to dark purplish-black.
It takes a long way to make a black truffle salt, which is why it is so expensive! But don’t despair; if you look in the right places, it’s possible to buy this salty treat quite cheaply. Because black truffles have always been a delicacy for the rich and famous, they are difficult to find. In fact, if you go to most upscale stores in the UK and Europe, you will not find any black truffles at all.
Because they are not indigenous to France, the black truffle salt historically came from the rich Medieval Court of the French King Louis XIV. This was the period of time when his food was rich, his wines were sweet, his people were pampered and everyone had a high regard for salt. This allowed the sea salt to be harvested in the Grand Est region of France where it was the salt of choice for many dishes. Today, sea salt is collected in the surrounding area, which makes it a bit more expensive than sea salt. But, it is still considered the best of its kind and a fine substitute.