Samantha Harman was invited to Signorini Tartufi the only truffle shop in the UK, located in the South Laines to find out all about truffles, a culinary delicacy.
There’s something incredibly romantic about the thought of specially trained pigs digging in the woods to locate the elusive golden egg of the culinary world. But what are they exactly? Truffles are one of the most expensive foods you can buy due to their scarcity, the fact they are seasonal and extremely difficult to grow and cultivate. The rock-like lumps are edible spores that grow on an underground fungus in the family tuberaceae. Not to be confused with mushrooms, as they are technically not the same species. Mushrooms grow above ground, while Truffles grow below. An upside down mushroom if you will. I was invited along to find out more from shop manager, Joanna at Signorini Tartufi a relatively new truffle specialist shop in the South Lanes. The gold and black fronted shop sits in a prime position, opposite Riddle and Finns and is the Chocolate Factory of the truffle world. There is everything here from truffle crisps, to pasta and the feel is the same as a high-end jewelry shop. This is unsurprising as certain truffles are ounce for ounce more expensive than gold. Joanna explained that some truffles are worth tens of thousands of pounds, like diamonds. The shop has been open for almost six months, and all the products are sourced from France, with 55 shops in Europe, the Brighton branch is the only UK store to date. The shop sells four seasons of truffle; black truffle, summer truffle, spring truffle and the most expensive of the four, white truffle. The white truffle only grows in Italy, with each having its own unique taste, smell and texture. The black truffle is more woody and earthy, while the white truffle has a more natural garlic flavour. My dream of a specially trained pig crew was quickly shattered as Joanna explained they use dogs to harvest the truffles as the pigs are much harder to train and less obedient, they want to eat the truffles themselves. I left with a jar of truffle honey, which apparently goes well with cheese. Everything about this shop is upmarket, the ladies who work here are incredibly knowledgable about their products and you’re guaranteed to leave with a smile and a boujee gift bag.