a closeup of an Oregon black truffle on a white background

The aphrodisiac history of black and white truffle

A legendary aphrodisiac of ancient Rome, truffles are still among the most prized ingredients in the culinary world. And their appeal may just be more than their rarity. It is believed–although yet to be confirmed by modern science–that truffles’ musky scent replicates the scent of the male pheromone androstenone. Napoleon ate truffle to increase his masculine potency. Maybe he should have cut back!

Like Napoleon, Europe’s great gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin did not need the modern microscope to tell him of truffle’s lustful scent. On the subject of truffles, Savarin is quoted as saying:

“Truffle. As soon as the word is spoken, it awakens lustful and erotic memories among the skirt-wearing sex and erotic and lustful memories among the beard-wearing sex. This honorable parallelism comes not only from the fact that this esteemed tuber is delicious, but also because it is still believed to bring about potency, the exercise of which brings sweet pleasure.”

Although it is clearly the aroma of truffles that moves men (and women), scent is not the only attribute of the truffle that contributes to an aphrodisiac reputation. Their rarity and short season make them among the most elusive, luxury goods of the culinary world. And it might be surprising to learn that truffles are high in protein. Those shavings of fragrant goodness atop a dish of hand-rolled pasta can help the diner sustain energy for the night of passion to come.

Both white and black truffles are considered an aphrodisiac luxury but it is the more rare blacks that have the most concentrated aphrodisiac potency. So start feeding your piggy bank in anticipation of a black truffle feast.

A truffle recipe

To make your truffle last, first put it in a sealed glass jar with two uncooked eggs in the shell. Then fill the jar to the top with white rice. The next day, remove the truffle from the jar, shave it over pasta and save the eggs for the morning after. Both the eggs and rice will take on the flavor of the truffle, enabling you to enjoy your investment over several meals.

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