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National Truffle Day

The truffle, a chocolate confection named after the similar-looking truffle fungus, is celebrated and eaten today on National Truffle Day. True truffles contain ganache, which is made when heavy whipping cream is poured over chopped chocolate—preferably semi-sweet chocolate of about 60% cocoa solids—and whisked together. A truffle is created when the ganache is formed into a ball and rolled in cocoa powder.

According to lore, Louis Dufour (or possibly N. Petruccelli) came up with the idea for chocolate truffles on Christmas Day in 1895 in Chambray, France. He made ganache in the shape of a ball and dipped it in melted chocolate, and then rolled it in cocoa powder. In 1902, Antione Dufour brought the family recipe to London to use at Prestat Chocolate Shop.

Another story also claims French origin but says the confection was created in the 1920s by an apprentice of famed chef August Escoffier. The apprentice tried to make pastry cream, but instead of pouring hot cream into a bowl of sugared egg, they accidentally poured the cream into a bowl of chocolate chunks. The chocolate and cream hardened and Escoffier made it into a lopsided ball and rolled it in cocoa powder.

While true truffles like those first created in France must contain ganache, other fillings are often used, as are coverings beyond cocoa powder. Fillings include caramel, cream, melted chocolate, fudge, fruit, nuts, nougat, marshmallow, mint, and liquor. Butter and corn syrup may be added to improve mouthfeel and texture, and citrus zest and flavoring oils may be added to enhance flavor. Truffles may be covered with luster dust, sprinkles, nuts—such as chopped or roasted nuts, especially hazelnuts or almonds—chocolate shavings, coconut, crushed candies, and powdered sugar. They may even be airbrushed. Truffles don't need to be shaped like balls and can be molded into other shapes.

There are different types of truffles, with American, Swiss, French, Spanish, and European being some of the most common. Joseph Schmidt created American truffles in San Francisco in the 1980s. Shaped like an egg, they are covered in a mixture of dark and milk chocolate, coconut butter, and butterfat. Swiss truffles combine melted chocolate with a mixture of dairy cream and butter, which is poured into molds and sprinkled with cocoa powder. French truffles are made with fresh cream and chocolate and rolled in cocoa or nut powder. Spanish truffles are made of dark chocolate, condensed milk, rum or another liqueur, and chocolate sprinkles. European truffles contain syrup and a base of cocoa powder, milk powder, and fats. These and all other truffles are enjoyed today on National Truffle Day!

How to Observe National Truffle Day

Celebrate by having some truffles! You could buy some from a local candy store or from a company like Prestat, or you could make your own. You could try truffles with various fillings and coverings. French truffles are a must, but you could also try American, Swiss, Spanish, and European truffles.

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