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robert brown

All about truffles

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"like crossing mushrooms with the best sex you ever had"

what kind of mushrooms? :blink:

Sounds like Bill had a good time at burning man this year...

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Hi

Have been lurking for months, time to join. This thread has been discussing truffles in Piedmonte, but we will be in Umbria in 2 weeks. Any info about that part of Italia and the status of their truffles would be greatly appreciated.

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The black truffles of Norcia are nothing like the white truffles of Alba, but are very good in their own right.

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For what it's worth, my weekly truffle report, Albatartuffi, states that quality is improving day-by-day for the white Alba truffles.

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Robert-IF you can find any! I think that the quantity and the size are bigger problems than quality right now. They have HUGE porcini in the Alba and Asti markets right now-imported from Tuscany!


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Bill, what's the truffles in restaurants situation you have encountered in terms of cost and quality?

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Due to relatives a casa, I have done only Il Centro, Osteria Lalibera and Cantina del Rondo so far. Nary a truffle offered at any of the three, although Centro is offering a lot of mushrooms. Imported porcini down to 26 Euro/kg in the mercati. Il Vicoletto's food shop using porcini liberally in their offerings.


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Bill, what's the truffles in restaurants situation you have encountered in terms of cost and quality?

In case you are interested in a response from someone other than Bill, last week I posted some info on this as of a week ago (under "When its truffle picking time in Piedmont").

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Bill, what's the story on Il Vicoletto? I read something about that it closed or changed owners or format, or something? Is the food shop new? What's it like? How was Il Centro and the others?

Marco, how did I miss your post? I'll go to it now.

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Marco, keep the info coming! During my first week here, I have had too much going on to keep my eye (and nose) on the truffle situation. Centro is better than ever, and the other two consistently good as ever. Il Vicoletto has been converted to a high-end carryout, to extraordinary effect. You can get many of the classics from the old menu, as well as things never before seen in the ristorante. The missus is still in the kitchen, while Bruno and their daughter run the front. They give you perfect reheating instructions as well. In addition to prepared foods (including several homemade pastas each day), they offer up dolce, cheeses, salumi, wines, oils, candies, etc. Always select rather than numerous. I went there on Sunday, and got some fresh lumache (snails) from nearby Cherasco, done up in a light but intensely flavored vegetable-based sauce. They were the best that I have ever tasted. I nearly wept...


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Bill, Marco, anyone?

Any update on the white truffle harvest? Previous posts indicated that some individuals were of the opinion that wet weather in the fall could help salvage some of the crop this year. As we are on the cusp of November, any update on the current harvest would be greatly appreciated.

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We were in Alba mid October. We ate at Borgo Antico, Trattoria della Posta and Il Belvedere (all of these were close to Barolo where we were staying, all were based on recommendations from this board and they were all excellent).

30 euro was the going rate for a generous shaving of tartufi on any course. Della Posta also had a 4 course truffle tasting menu for 100 e per person (we skipped that in favour of a secondi of goose leg stuffed with goose liver - had tartufi on the pasta course though).

I thought Il Belvedere was the best value -- a heap of truffles on the pasta and that was 30e including the pasta course (also their antipasta "sampler" was excellent value).

It was our first trip to Piedmont so I can't say how it compares to previous harvests but it seems reasonable to say that it is not as good as usual. We visited the Alba truffle festival and there were some pretty huge ones. It's great to come away from the truffle fair and smell truffles on your clothes for days after!


Edited by theakston (log)

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Thanks. Unfortunately I'll be in Tuscany later this month where I expect there to be a premium on the prices that you paid in Alba. On that note, if anyone knows a good place in Florence to indulge in white truffles, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Marco, keep the info coming!  During my first week here, I have had too much going on to keep my eye (and nose) on the truffle situation.  Centro is better than ever, and the other two consistently good as ever.  Il Vicoletto has been converted to a high-end carryout, to extraordinary effect.  You can get many of the classics from the old menu, as well as things never before seen in the ristorante.  The missus is still in the kitchen, while Bruno and their daughter run the front.  They give you perfect reheating instructions as well.  In addition to prepared foods (including several homemade pastas each day), they offer up dolce, cheeses, salumi, wines, oils, candies, etc.  Always select rather than numerous.  I went there on Sunday, and got some fresh lumache (snails) from nearby Cherasco, done up in a light but intensely flavored vegetable-based sauce.  They were the best that I have ever tasted.  I nearly wept...

Wow. Gives new meaning to the words "take out" doesn't it? Italy is where I want to be.

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The truffles are starting to roll in in paying quantities now, but the story is still going to be relatively few, small, very expensive (but with the price dropping a bit in the last week), but of generally excellent quality. I passed through Verona, Venice and Bergamo on my way out of the Piemonte, and nobody was offering truffles. While I was in the Piemonte, I had truffles only at Antine and Trattoria della Posta, and they were outstanding both times. I can confirm theakston's pricing info above.


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Greetings, fellow funghi fans. I'm going to be in Asti for one day and night and would love your recommendations on

1] truffle stores to check out

2] a place to eat dinner that excels at white truffle dishes.

Thanks so much

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I'm going to swallow my pride with this request, but surely this is the place for the answer.

Having travelled throughout Umbria, and enjoying in some quantity the black truffles of the region, I am wondering if someone can describe for me the difference in flavor, character, culinary use, etc between the white truffles of the northwest and the black truffles of Umbria. Are these completely different creatures?

I will admit I have never had the opportunity to try white truffles, and I wonder what to expect. From what I have read on this board, I would expect something, perhaps, that defies description. I hope not.

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Perhaps that could be addressed on another thread. Interesting topic.

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Tough question - it is liking asking a woman to describe the difference between a clitoral or vaginal orgasm...

ha ha ha , great answer but as a male not quite sure it really answers the question :wacko:

Cheers

Paul

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Tough question - it is liking asking a woman to describe the difference between a clitoral or vaginal orgasm...

Let's change the title of this thread. Soon everyone on the internet will be here.

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Here is what I wrote to someone else who asked the same question about orgasms...or I mean truffles:

White truffles are like Condrieu (exotic and perfumed) and black truffles are like classic Rioja Gran Reserva (earthy and complex). White truffles are like listening to Mozart and black truffles are like listening to Bach. White truffles are like Renoir and black truffles like Rembrandt.

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Marcella Hazan said it best: "Why would anyone choose to eat black truffles if white truffles are available?" While the perfumes of each have something in common, most fresh black truffles are a little woody in texture, and thus, do not offer a lot (other than a little aroma) if served raw. If cooked (the black truffle soup at Paul Bocuse in Lyon comes to mind-stock, cream and a fistful of whole black truffles!), they give up more flavor and aroma. White truffles, on the other hand, are far more delicate, and are invariably eaten raw, generally shaved over dishes such as pasta and eggs that provide just enough heat to cause the white truffles to "melt" slightly, thus yielding maximum perfume and taste. I find black truffles, even those from my beloved Norcia, to be a little one-dimensional, while really good white truffles are enormously complex, both in aroma and taste. White truffles also possess a pungency akin to garlic or shallots, along with an indescribable earthiness. I also find that black truffles offer maximum taste upon first bite, while the taste impact of white truffles is cumulative. That is why some people are less than impressed with their first tastes of white truffle. Finally, while I hesitate to encourage Carolyn (you naughty person, you!), there is another factor to consider, to-wit, why do truffle dogs and pigs dig for the damn things in the first place? Some would suggest that it is simply a matter of Pavlovian conditioning, similar to the training of drug-sniffing dogs. Not actually true. The real answer is that truffles have been found to contain a pheromone that, well, politely put, strongly reminds those animals of the female of their species. More than a few members of the human species have made the same determination. In my experience, women like white truffles as well as men, and I am sure that therein lies a discussion topic that will cause everyone on the web to descend upon us!


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Ah. Perhaps Freud was right, that the pleasure of eating is just a manifestation of a way to sublimate the sexual instinct...or could it be the other way around?

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