Why are truffles considered aphrodisiacs?
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. In fact, truffle might be the ultimate aphrodisiac for women.
It is believed – although yet to be thoroughly proven by modern science – that truffles’ musky scent replicates the scent of the male pheromone androstenone. Napoleon ate truffles to increase his masculine potency. Maybe he should have cut back!
Truffles in history
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 excites women and men who are attracted to men, the scent is not the only attribute of the truffle that contributes to an aphrodisiac reputation.
Those who look at the power of aphrodisiacs from a psychological standpoint believe that these tubers’ rarity and short season make them among the most elusive, luxury goods of the culinary world. (Italian white truffles are generally only available from about mid-fall through December.)
What are truffles?
You may already be familiar with the sexy scent and odd appearance of truffles. (They look a bit like lumpy balls of clay.) But do you really know what they are?
Truffles are tubers, basically fungus that grows underground. They prefer to grow near the roots of certain types of trees, including oak and hazelnut. And they only like the right climate conditions.
They are difficult to find and are usually sniffed out by truffle hogs (the traditional way) or by dogs, which are becoming more common truffle hunters.
The most sought-after truffles are the white from Alba and the blacks from France’s Perigord region. But both black and white truffles from Oregon and other parts of the U.S. are gaining popularity.
They have similar nutritional value to mushrooms, which probably isn’t surprising. But what might surprise you is learning 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.
Which truffles are the best aphrodisiac for women?
Both white and black truffles are considered an aphrodisiac luxury but it is black truffles that have the highest concentration of androstenone. So if you’re looking to woo a lady, you might want to go with black truffles.
A trick to making your truffle last
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.
This article was written in 2010 and most recently updated in 2022.
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