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Italian Black Truffles


Busboy
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A shop which I trust is selling white truffles from Alba for about $170/oz, which seems about right for good fresh white fungus. They also have, though, Italian black truffles, from Piedmont, for about a tenth the price. I generally go for French black truffles as they seem to offer the best value -- if such a word can be applied -- as compared to the much more expensive Albanians, and I've always been disappointed in "discount" black truffles: summer truffles, Burgundy truffles, Oregon truffles etc. But I'm thinking that Piemontese black truffles might be the exception that proves rule. Anyone have any experience with these?

Edited by Busboy (log)

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A shop which I trust is selling white truffles from Alba for about $170/oz, which seems about right for good fresh white fungus.  They also have, though, Italian black truffles, from Piedmont, for about a tenth the price.  I generally go for French black truffles as they seem to offer the best value -- if such a word can be applied -- as compared to the much more expensive Albanians, and I've always been disappointed in "discount" black truffles: summer truffles, Burgundy truffles, Oregon truffles etc.  But I'm thinking that Piemontese black truffles might be the exception that proves rule. Anyone have any experience with these?

1 ounce = 28.4 grams

1 US$ = .78 Euro (at today’s rate)

$170/ounce = $6 per gram or 4.7 Euros per gram

One tenth of that is $17/ounce = .47 Euros per gram

Here in Piemonte 2008 white truffles are selling for about 4.5- 6.5 Euros per gram depending on size and quality, so if you are buying white truffles in the USA for $170 an ounce or 4.7 Euros a gram, you are probably not buying Piemonte truffles.

Piemonte summer truffles can be bought locally for about .13 euros a gram (in fact, I can buy them from a neighbor for 5 Euros for 100 grams) so the difference in price locally between an Italian (even Piemontese) summer truffle and a proper white truffle is 4.57 Euros a gram or 4,570 Euros a kilo.

This is a huge difference and should give you some idea of the difference in quality between a proper Piemontese white truffle and a summer truffle.

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A shop which I trust is selling white truffles from Alba for about $170/oz, which seems about right for good fresh white fungus.  They also have, though, Italian black truffles, from Piedmont, for about a tenth the price.  I generally go for French black truffles as they seem to offer the best value -- if such a word can be applied -- as compared to the much more expensive Albanians, and I've always been disappointed in "discount" black truffles: summer truffles, Burgundy truffles, Oregon truffles etc.  But I'm thinking that Piemontese black truffles might be the exception that proves rule. Anyone have any experience with these?

1 ounce = 28.4 grams

1 US$ = .78 Euro (at today’s rate)

$170/ounce = $6 per gram or 4.7 Euros per gram

One tenth of that is $17/ounce = .47 Euros per gram

Here in Piemonte 2008 white truffles are selling for about 4.5- 6.5 Euros per gram depending on size and quality, so if you are buying white truffles in the USA for $170 an ounce or 4.7 Euros a gram, you are probably not buying Piemonte truffles.

Piemonte summer truffles can be bought locally for about .13 euros a gram (in fact, I can buy them from a neighbor for 5 Euros for 100 grams) so the difference in price locally between an Italian (even Piemontese) summer truffle and a proper white truffle is 4.57 Euros a gram or 4,570 Euros a kilo.

This is a huge difference and should give you some idea of the difference in quality between a proper Piemontese white truffle and a summer truffle.

Thanks for weighing in.

Regarding the black truffles, that's what I thought.

I'm not going to buy the white truffles without giving them the sniff test, but I kind of know the gentleman selling them and I'm pretty confident that he's legit.

On the other hand, I stumbled across a nice Perigord truffle for $70/oz and may just buy that instead, but the trade-offs between price and quality are challenging to quantify.

PS: if you have an opinion on how long can a truffle sit under glass, nestled in Arborio rice, before it loses its charm, I would appreciate hearing it.

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Thinking about the government.

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Thanks for weighing in.

Regarding the black truffles, that's what I thought.

I'm not going to buy the white truffles without giving them the sniff test, but I kind of know the gentleman selling them and I'm pretty confident that he's legit. 

On the other hand, I stumbled across a nice Perigord truffle for $70/oz and may just buy that instead, but the trade-offs between price and quality are challenging to quantify. 

PS: if you have an opinion on how long can a truffle sit under glass, nestled in Arborio rice, before it loses its charm, I would appreciate hearing it.

Even if your friend bought the truffles at the Alba fair himself, they are probably not from the region. The weather has been very dry here until lately and truffles are way off. My neighbor (and the man I bought my house from) is a hunter and has come up with nothing most days.

The prices I quoted are for recently found truffles. I would not pay full price for a white truffle more than 4 or 5 days old. After 10 days you can forget it. Unless it is huge, It will be 1/2 the original size and will have lost the bulk of it's flavor. (I am speaking of truffles smaller than a quarter).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Coincidentally, I ended up having a few shavings of the Italian black truffles at wonderful meal at the chef's table at Teatro Goldoni here in DC. The Chef had acquired the truffles from the same guy I was tempted to (and may be again tempted to) buy from when I posted this.

They are surely not serious truffles, but they had a nice flavor and a good nose. For the price, I think they'd be be well worth shaving onto a chick broth or complementing Pommes Anna.

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hey wait, i was just and ate at a awfully awfully expensive italian restaurant here in town that boasted "alba truffle risotto". i was slightly suspicious because a) they werent all that pungent at all and b) they were BLACK truffles... are there even black truffles coming from alba? im guessing this restaurant is just ripping ppl off then?

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hey wait, i was just and ate at a awfully awfully expensive italian restaurant here in town that boasted "alba truffle risotto". i was slightly suspicious because a) they werent all that pungent at all and b) they were BLACK truffles... are there even black truffles coming from alba? im guessing this restaurant is just ripping ppl off then?

That sounds like what I had.

I don't think they're bad if you know what to expect, but advertising "Alba truffle risotto" and serving these, they're definitely being dishonest, IMO.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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hey wait, i was just and ate at a awfully awfully expensive italian restaurant here in town that boasted "alba truffle risotto". i was slightly suspicious because a) they werent all that pungent at all and b) they were BLACK truffles... are there even black truffles coming from alba? im guessing this restaurant is just ripping ppl off then?

Did they shave the fresh truffle over the dish or did it come out with the bits already cooked in the rice? White truffles aren't actually white, they are brown. Either way, if they shaved fresh white truffles over your risotto everyone in the restaurant would know it. It is almost like someone dropped bottle of perfume. I left a white truffle the size of your thumb nail in my car for an hour with the windows up and we had to wait a few minutes before getting in, the smell was so over powering.

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