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Truffle from Soria: the Spanish black diamond

IMG_4250The black truffle, or Tuber melanosporum , is a winter fungus appreciated in restaurants for its special aroma and flavor it brings to all kinds of dishes, bringing nuances that reflect the essence of the land and forest. Despite its scarcity and high price, the demand for truffle growing every day.

Soria is one of the three major Spanish producing provinces of black truffle, along with Huesca and Teruel. Has 1,700 hectares for planting, whose production accounts for over 30 % of the national market.

The quality of the truffle from Soria has transcended borders and much of the production is sold in England, Germany or United States. The experts emphasize that the altitude of the province and its climatic conditions give the black truffle and special aroma and remarkable texture over other truffles.

The rains this year and good early autumn temperatures have favored a campaign that could reach a total number of  5,000 kilos (11,000 pounds). Calculate the cost-effectiveness of the province is always difficult, because the market is not regulated.  the Truffle Soria Association estimate is around  $9 million.

The price per pound , which last year was around $680 , could lower this season , which runs from 1 December to mid- March. In fact, the first prices are handled are around $480 per pound.

Soria Truffle association continues to work to achieve a quality mark that distinguishes the Tuber melanosporum from Soria in the most important international markets.

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Great Spanish chefs as Pepe Rodríguez (El Bohio), Luis Alberto Lera ( Mesón El Labrador) , Óscar Perez and Pedro Mario (El Ermitaño), Víctor Martin (Trigo) or Mario Sandoval (Coque) , among others, exalt the special aroma of the black truffle from Soria and use it fresh in season to prepare their dishes. Even one of the most successful chefs, Martín Berasategui, says that Soria black truffle is “the Rolls Royce of truffles from Spain .”

One of the chefs who has worked and extolled the great potential of the black truffle from Soria is Óscar García, from his restaurant Baluarte. The Academy of Gastronomy and Food of Castilla y León recognized their work recently. IMG_4258

The menu of the day dedicated to the black truffle from Soria included the following courses:

– Our trufal
– Seasonal vegetables with truffle, prawn and mushroom soup
-Potato – truffle with candied rib
-Squid ragout, truffles, chestnuts and walnuts
-Truffled – egg
– Octopus , cabbage, truffle and dashi soup
– Bresse Pigeon with rice and mushrooms
– Ice cream with chocolate truffle

The black truffle can praise all kinds of dishes . It can be taken raw laminated or can be added to a stew or soup. It is also used for flavoring eggs , oils and cheeses.

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Mediterranean diet decalogue: more than a lifestyle

ImagenThe Mediterranean diet is a well to protect. Like this it understood it the UNESCO when it declared it Immaterial Heritage of the Mankind in 2010, thanks to the initiative of four communities of Spain (Soria), Italy, Morocco and Greece. It is considered like one of the healthiest of the world, and no only by the use and combination of ingredients, but also by a series of traditional practices related with the feeding.

The UNESCO considers that in the nutritional model of this diet, that has remained constant through the time and of the space, the main ingredients are the oil of olive, the cereals, the fruits and cool or dry vegetables, a moderate proportion of meat, fish and dairy products, and abundant condiments and spices, whose consumption in the table accompanies of wine or infusions, respecting always the beliefs of each community. The Mediterranean diet –whose name comes of the Greek word diaita, that wants to say way of life– does not comprise only the feeding, since it is a cultural element that favourable the social interaction; that’s explains that the foods in common are an angular stone of the social habits and of the celebration of festive events.

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“To the trilogy wheat, vineyard and olivo, to the legumbres, to the vegetables, to the fruits, to the fish, to the cheeses or the yoghourt, to the nuts it is necessary to add an essential condiment, perhaps a basic ingredient: the sociability”, signals Lluís Serra, President of the Foundation Mediterranean Diet, in the book: ‘Ánima Mediterránea’, by Bernd H. Knöller And Xavier Mollà.

The experts think that the prevailing globalization is changing our alimentary habits and is putting in danger the survival of a diet that sinks his roots in the history.

One of the impulsores from Spain of the candidature of the Mediterranean diet to Immaterial Heritage of the Mankind, the doctor Juan Manuel Ruiz Liso, elaborated the fundamental decalogue to follow this type of feeding:

1.- You will take oil of virgin olive all the days of your life

2.- You won´t forget bread and cereals in any meal

3.- The fruit will accompany you every day

4.- You will eat salad daily 

5.-You will abuse from Vegetables and legumes 

6.- You won´t live without fish

7.- Daily milk you will drink

8.- You will not exceed the consumption of saturated fats

9.- Working and leisure will go together

10.- You will eat with company as often as possible

On the Foundation of the Mediterranean Diet web can find interesting medical articles on the health benefits of this diet, plus weekly menus and recipes as described below:

Vegetables (Pisto) with eggs

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Ingredients for four people:

2 medium red or green peppers

2 medium tomatoes

2 medium eggplants

4 garlic cloves

4 medium eggs

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp paprika

Salt

Pepper

How to do:

Wash pepper, remove seeds and cut into strips. Peel the tomatoes and garlic and finely chop separately. Wash eggplants, remove the ends and cut into cubes.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan and cook to heat the peppers for 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and eggplant and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Finally, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Grind salt, make some holes among the vegetables and drop the raw eggs in them. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the egg white curd. Lightly salt and pepper the eggs and serve the dish with bread.

Mushrooms time

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Forests and meadows are filled with mushrooms in fall, ingredients that have invaded the kitchens in recent years. Haute cuisine is increasingly attracted by to the flavor, texture, color and aroma of these treasures of nature to create dishes or enhance other ingredients.

At each location reign certain species, but some of the most appreciated by the restaurants are these:

Amanita Caesarea : orange, is highly prized for its delicate flavor and aroma. It can be prepared raw or slightly roasted, and combines well with dairy, like yogurt foam, for example.

Boletus edulis: it is a very aromatic fungus that grows in mountain areas and some can be large. White meat, compact, bulky trunk and hat in different shades of brow , it is ideal for grilled, accompanying meat and fish or cooked as a cream.

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Boletus edulis

Cantharellus cibarius : in Spain is known as rebozuelos. It is a small mushroom that grows in the highlands and humid, yellow or orange, aromatic and pleasant taste. You can cook or make preserves and can also be used as part of the dessert, because it is one of the mushrooms that support sugar preparations, as jellies or jams.

Cratherellus Cornucopioides: known as ‘trumpet of the dead ‘ by its characteristic black color. It is difficult to find, by their color and small size. It grows in coniferous forests in autumn and spring and is prized for its flavor. You can use it fresh or powdered.

Morel Mushroom: this mushroom looks like a small honeycomb. Can not be eaten raw because of its toxicity, but are delicious cooked. They are used to flavor sauces and enhance the flavors of the meat, and can also be seen in recipes that are cooked in cream.

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Cantharellus Cibarius

Agaricus campestrris: known in Spain as champiñón silvestre is one of the most abundant species. It grows in fall and spring in the meadows and its aroma is very appreciated in the kitchen. It can be prepared as an accompaniment to meat and fish or with garlic and parsley.

Tuber melanosporum: black truffle is one of the most appreciated. In Spain can be found on farms in the provinces of Soria, Huesca and Teruel , mainly. It is a fungus with intense flavor and aroma that adds tremendous value to meat and game dishes and can serve to flavor oil, cheese or eggs. It is prized in haute cuisine and can reach up to 1,000 euros ($1,350) per kilo. Grating is used to flavor all types of dishes: meats, fish, creams, salads and pastas.

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Boletus grilled, from Baluarte restaurant

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Mushroom cakes

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Sandwich with bacon and truffle

Torrezno, a tasty indulgence from the soul of Spain

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This snack is a typical Spanish tapa , especially in some inland areas. Torreznos are obtained from pork belly, marinated and once dried, cut into strips and fried in olive oil. The result is a very tasty and crunchy appetizer, just depending  on the way it should  be fried.

It’s a simple dish, but it has its tricks. The proper frying method is as it follows: the bacon has to be at room temperature and cut into slices 1.5 to 2 cm wide. In a pan with a little extra virgin olive (only cover the bottom) and before heating it, lay the slices always with the crust down. Heat the pan at very  low temperature, let them frying for 30-40 minutes. Then, take them out of the pan and let cool . Finally , heat the same pan with the same oil and fat at a high temperature and brown the Torrezno until the crust gets crispy.

In a province of Castilla-León , Soria, where torreznos are so typical , ten producers have joined to achieve a quality certification mark . Torrezno de Soria ensures that the pork belly is obtained , cut and treated according to traditional standards to offer its  best flavor and taste. Traditionally , the part of the pig from which the bacon is chosen  was called ‘ the soul ‘. Today, that ‘soul ‘ has become a gastronomic flag thet coul arrive soon to the Pacific NW.

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Although it is very tasty snack , has a high fat content. However, many of these are unsaturated fatty acids , especially if fried in olive oil . In any case , we recommend a responsible consumption, within a balanced diet.