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SWISS_CHEF

Piedmont truffle truth

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We're in the midst of our truffle festival in Citta di Castello. Small potatoes compared to Piemonte, but I'm happy nontheless.

The truffles we bought are destined to be wedded tonight to some freshly laid eggs, lightly scrambled with a bit of fresh celery. A match made in heaven. :biggrin:

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Looking good - we are going the end of next week, so our timing should be about right. Any new reports on the prices this year?

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Hathor those are monster truffles! I haven't seen such big ones this year in Piedmont, big ones like this would be quite they would be quite expensive around here (the bigger the size the more the price per gram goes up) which reminds me I must ask my trifalau if bigger ones are indeed more intense then the small or is it just to impress your friends.

Today, Sunday we went to the Asti Truffle Fair (also combined with Cucina e Cantina, the whole town was quite festive with food & wine stalls all over), and happy to say that the November truffle season is now a fact, and much bigger truffles are beeing found, and more plentiful. The biggest I saw was about 150 grams and the prices have come down a lot, small tartufi run around 150 euro an hetto (100 grams), larger ones around 250 euro an hetto.

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(anyone know how I can make this picture larger?)


Edited by Sampaguita (log)

Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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Sampaguita,

Thanks for the report - looking good -- hey do you remember what prices were last year? Getting old and I really can't remember - likely I didn't care too much as I was floating in my yearly Tartufi bianchi "buzz" or "coma" and just enjoyed my "fix."

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little trees that are 'impregnated' with black and white truffle spores.

LOL! Well when you see the lines of tour buses in Moncalvo, you will think they are selling potions for ever-lasting life! It's out of control!

By the way kids, 30 month old Parmesan tastes pretty flippin fantastic grated on your pasta too, and it's a LOT cheaper than truffles!

What is it about expensive stuff that makes people so crazy?

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Well what do you think of this article? Oregon truffles taste better than Italian truffles

Here's my take... if you transported the Oregon truffles to Italy and did a side by side, the Italian truffles would taste better. I don't care what people say, truffles don't travel well. A day or two out of the ground and they are a ghost of their former self. It also doesn't say what species of Italian white truffles they used.

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Mark, I seem to remember that they were between 3 to 4 euro a gram if you knew a truffle hunter, higher at markets and restaurants and top-euro at Alba truffe fair. You will be here in Piedmont this weekend? The trufle fair in Acqui Terme on Sunday will be the closest to where you are staying in Mombaruzzo, but if you had a chance I would try the fair at Vezza d'Alba which is co-billed with wines of the Roero, a bit further to drive though.


Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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Hathor I have heard that you can insporate (is that the correct term?) Oregon truffles (tuber gibbosum) and I know people in California who are trying. I also saw an edition of Dragons Den, (the UK program where entepreneurs try to convince financers to back their schemes) where someone invested in a university grad who has a scheme to plant black truffles in France - never heard if it was a sucess or not. But I have never heard of anyone sucessfully cultivating domestic white truffles (tuber magnatum) so beloved in Piedmont and other nearby parts of Europe. Long may they remain wild!

I concur with you that you can't compare truffles from different areas side by side as they moment they come out of the ground they start deteriating, no blind tasting sid eby side of truffles from different regions of Italy . A real afficionada would have to travel from place to place in season, comparing and making notes as hshe went along, now what a tough prospect!

BUT I would be intensly interested if anyone who really knows Piedmontese white truffles has tried the Oregonian variety and what they think.


Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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I agree with Judith and Rina, how old were the Italian truffles? I wouldn't be at all surprised if people preferred the fresh Oregon truffles. Truffle freshness only lasts a week maybe 10 days. Wait too long and you have little that anyone would consider interesting. Sounds like Oregon is trying to drum up some business. I have seen commercials on CNN touting Croatian white truffles too. I suppose everyone wants a piece of the pie.

There is also something fishy about the picture of Charles Leflave... He is examining a big black truffle next to a hazel nut bush: ( there are millions of these bushes in Piemonte). My friend Anselmo tends a big field of these bushes near our house and he digs up big black Italian summer truffles all the time. I think the picture of Charles is in Italy not France.

Well what do you think of this article?  Oregon truffles taste better than Italian truffles

Here's my take... if you transported the Oregon truffles to Italy and did a side by side, the Italian truffles would taste better. I don't care what people say, truffles don't travel well.  A day or two out of the ground and they are a ghost of their former self.  It also doesn't say what species  of Italian white truffles they used.


Edited by SWISS_CHEF (log)

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The Oregon whites are like a poor cousin to the whites of the Piedmont (or Croatia or Toscana). They have a similar flavor profile with a bunch more of a petrol aroma and a much weaker pervasiveness. There is no comparison. I say this as a person who has sold hundreds of pounds of domestic (Oregon / CA) truffles for over 15 years and has also travelled to Europe to dine on truffles for those same 15 years. However not everyone wants to or can afford to pay the Kings ransom it takes for fine European Whites. At 1/10th the price or less Oregon Whites have a market. They can be fabulous when ripe and used properly. When Green and poorly used they are no better than a potato. I try to convince folks to wait for ripe truffles (usually January and beyond) and avoid the unripe (Green) ones. I have many, many satisfied customers, including those who have dined on wonderful Piedmontese whites. The Oregon ones can be used quite liberally and that helps. They are also FAT SOLUBLE which means they do best in eggs or mixed into softened butter and then put on pasta whereas the Italian version has tons of flavor (when ripe, in a good year) it can stand alone.

In closing I will say there is no more a fair comparison between good white truffles of Italy (Croatia, etc) and Oregon as comparing an Opel Astra to a Murcielago. It is a different product entirely.


David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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We are headed back down to Zanco on Sunday. I will post the news from my truffle hunting neighbors on Monday.

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Alessandro is still grumbling about the truffles, so I guess production isn't up to standards. I will keep asking, maybe he needs a new dog.

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The Oregon whites are like a poor cousin to the whites of the Piedmont (or Croatia or Toscana). They have a similar flavor profile with a bunch more of a petrol aroma and a much weaker pervasiveness. There is no comparison. I say this as a person who has sold hundreds of pounds of domestic (Oregon / CA) truffles for over 15 years and has also travelled to Europe to dine on truffles for those same 15 years. However not everyone wants to or can afford to pay the Kings ransom it takes for fine European Whites. At 1/10th the price or less Oregon Whites have a market. They can be fabulous when ripe and used properly. When Green and poorly used they are no better than a potato. I try to convince folks to wait for ripe truffles (usually January and beyond) and avoid the unripe (Green) ones.  I have many, many satisfied customers, including those who have dined on wonderful Piedmontese whites. The Oregon ones can be used quite liberally and that helps. They are also FAT SOLUBLE which means they do best in eggs or mixed into softened butter and then put on pasta whereas the Italian version has tons of flavor (when ripe, in a good year) it can stand alone.

In closing I will say there is no more a fair comparison between good white truffles of Italy (Croatia, etc) and Oregon as comparing an Opel Astra to a Murcielago. It is a different product entirely.

Very interesting. Is that petrol aroma specific to a truffle species? I ask because we wound up with some very petrol smelling white truffles last year. A truffle guy brought them around to the restaurant swearing they were local, but I thought he may not have been completely honest....

What do you mean when you say fat soluble? Aren't all truffles fat soluble?

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The Petrol aroma is similar tot eh petrol aroma of a really fine Riesling. I believe it is unique to the white (T. gibbosum) oregon truffle although I am not certain. I have never smelled that aroma from Italian or Croat truffles. There is a "gassy" nose to truffles when stored in the fridge but not when eaten. As to fat soluble I imagine all truffles are but some seem much more dependent on it. I have shaven and eaten Italian whites by just putting a slice on my tongue and letting it warm to see how strong they were. These were still fantastic without the help of fat. Also the Domestic (N. American) truffles do not hold up to any over heating or cooking. They need to be shaved and warmed only. The domestic Blacks are a bit stronger, but we are talking about whites. The domestic whites also have a very short shelf life as they ripen quickly once harvested and will go from unripe to over ripe in a week or so. Whereas Italian whites can be maintained for two weeks or more if kept cold. Of course the fresher the better but at least they do not "rot". Domestic whites get mushy and very earthy tasting when allowed to over ripen. They also tend to be bit dryer and crumbly and do not shave as well as the much denser Magnum do.

The one thing t remember about domestic truffles is that there is a reason they are only a couple of hundred dollars a pound (or less in bulk) and not a thousand or more dollars a pound. When taken into account the "value" of domestic truffles they are very good. To think one could bury the entire plate of pasta under a an ounce or two of truffles for $25 or so is pretty delicious. As long as the truffles are ripe. Unripe domestic whites are worthless IMHO. I will not buy from pickers that do not know how to judge ripeness and I will not sell under ripe truffles, no matter how desperate my customers are for truffles. If they are not ready they are not ready.

I saw the first ripe whites this week. They are from the coast and are tiny. The size of an almond or so. Under the width of a US Dime. The blacks are a bit larger and much riper. So far this year is very promising. In fact I am off to scramble some eggs with a 20 gram black domestic truffle right now. I will add the truffle (shaven) into 5 beaten eggs and put it back in fridge for 20 minutes or so to allow the flavor (aroma) to penetrate. Then I will cook the eggs in a flash in a large non stick pan with med. heat so they cook in about 20 seconds or so. A little salt, a toasted bagel and a caffe latte. Then the cooking begins. Today is Thanksgiving here in the States. A brined ( I make an apple / black pepper brine) Turkey , chanterelle - corn stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh haricot vert and a mag of 1996 Forst Kirchenstuchk Spatelase Trocken from Burklinwolfe. Followed by homemade apple-berry pie with a crumb top. I slice and soak the apples in huckleberry and mulberry juice for two days. They look like pickled beets but taste like berry.


David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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I had an opportunity to sample a quantity of Oregon white truffles during last year's truffle season - I don't know whether they were ripe, green or what, but I will say this - they were boring and fairly tasteless.

Yesterday, I walked by a shop where the vendor had a few white truffles from

Alba (at least that's what he said). They were very expensive, and could be smelled from practically across the street - I really wanted to buy one on the spot, but then we wouldn't have been able to afford our next two meals :laugh: .


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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Just back -- pretty good crop - I paid about 2.00 gram from the both our guide and then from a "friend" of his. The quality is excellent and the ones I brought home are still excellent!!! Been enjoying a steady diet of Eggs, Risotto, homemade pasta, veal tartare and few other things all a la tartufi!!!

As an aside Chris and Nicola over at La Villa are fantastic hosts and we had a great time there. Mario and his dog Rocky were great guides and we had fun - though it was cold. I'll post photos a bit later.

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Did anyone catch the news about the Tuscan Truffle charity auction, this year a monster specimen was sold to HK and Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho for over $200,000. Good to see that there are still highrollers in this recession era.

AOL http://news.aol.com/article/massive-truffl...r-200000/263425

AOL says that it weighed one kilo and the price was $200,000, however an article in the UK Telegraph on the auction weighs in at 1.5kg and the price at £165,000 of around $245,000.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/...und165,000.html

Works out to be 129 euro a gram, wow what a price for white truffles, the smaller ones have been selling for around 2 euro a gram, or were before this weekends snow which will probably push up the prices again


Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..........................


Edited by mdbasile (log)

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By the way, we have discovered a new jewel in the Asti restaurant crown: Piola & Crota http://www.piolaecrota.it/ that has a great 12 euro lunch, with wine included! Very elegant place and a top-drawer female chef to boot. It was formerly known as Barolo and Co.

We had lunch today at Piola & Crota and I am very sorry to say I have to revise my evaluation. We have eaten there three times and all three times we have ordered the lunch special. The first time we received 2 glasses each of a very nice barolo and coffee, all were included. The second time we got charged 2 euros a glass for the second glasses of wine but the coffee and water were still included. Today we were charged 4 euros each for the second glass of a rather less interesting wine and because my wife ordered a cappuccino (as she did all of the other times) she was charged €2.50 for it.

Food quality has also dropped (I didn't see the lady chef in the kitchen) and there was only one other diner in the restaurant on what should have been a busy Friday afternoon lunch. The restaurant around the corner was buzzing.

Piola & Crota feels like a restaurant that will probably be closed in the next few months.


Edited by SWISS_CHEF (log)

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perfect growing conditions so should be a bumper crop. i had an early taste last week, and boy do i miss them...

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