Truffles are a prized gourmet ingredient. These fruiting bodies of fungi reside underground at the base of trees, and they emit an odor that attracts animals, which is why pigs and dogs are best at finding these hidden treasures. Though chefs around the world wait patiently for their shipments during truffle season (generally late fall until mid-winter), truffles do lose intensity of flavor when they travel.
If you prefer earthy black truffles, head to Perigord, France, and trust a local chef to cook them well (cooking enhances the flavor of black truffles). For white truffles, which are more pungent and almost garlicky in flavor, go to Alba, in Italy's Piedmont region, and have raw white truffle shaved over a bowl of pasta or risotto.