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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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The best black grape variety: “Tempranillo” wines

On the 24th, 25th and 26th of October, the eighth edition of the touring Contest “Tempranillos al Mundo” was held in Toledo (Castilla-La Mancha, Spain), which is famed for the First International Wine Summit. The competition has again returned to Spain after passing through Stockholm and New York. This edition had a record participation of entries, with 500 samples from seven countries. The jury was composed of leading international experts from twelve nations

The wine Cruz de Alba (2011) –geographical location: Ribera de Duero– has been the winner of the contest, while four other wines have won the award Great Gold Tempranillo: Finca Sobreño Selección (2008), from Toro; Sideral (2010), from Rioja; Dinastía Vivanco Reserva (2007), from Rioja; and, in Garnacha variety, Atteca Armas (2011), from Calatayud.

It also granted 88 prizes Gold Tempranillo and 56 Silver Tempranillo.

Bodegas y Viñedos Lleiroso, located in the town of Valbuena de Duero (Valladolid), also included within the Certification of Origin “Ribera del Duero”, won four awards in this year’s competition:

• Gold Tempranillo: Luzmillar Crianza (2011) .
• Gold Tempranillo: Lleiroso (2009) .
• Silver Tempranillo: Luzmillar Roble (2012).
• Silver Tempranillo: Lleiroso (2007) .

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The Tempranillo black grape variety is the most important grapevine in Spain. From it, comes many of the most notable spanish red wines. It has other names, such as Tinta del País, in Ribera del Duero; Tinta de Toro, in Zamora; or Cencibel, in Castilla-La Mancha.  The  Tempranillo grape variety needs lots of sunshine to ensure optimum quality. The wines that are made ​​from this grape are fresh and dry in mouth.

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