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robert brown

All about truffles

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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.

Very well put. I should have used a musical or artistic simile, but somehow it is a more indepth, indescribable sensation for me...

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An interesting observation:

"The most learned men have been questioned as to the nature of this tuber, and after two thousand years of argument and discussion their answer is the same as it was on the first day: we do not know. The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: eat us and praise the Lord."

Alexandre Dumas(1802-1870)

As I alleged that the MALES did the truffle hunting in my post above, these bits of learning are most disturbing to me (since I help out my neighbors in Italy by sniffing out truffles when the dogs are sick):

"Dogs as well as pigs are used to hunt truffles; pigs are more eager to find the prizes, but it can be difficult to keep the pig from devouring the truffle. Only sows are used - the smell of Italian white truffles (Tuber magnatum Pico) contains pheromones that are attractive to female pigs, but not to boars."

"Human interest in truffles may also owe something to this hormone: men secrete it in their underarm sweat."

I owe these gems to Truffle FAQ.


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Great descriptions. I am getting the sense of it.

Bill, in Piemonte, do they market the white truffles with the same ubiquity as the black ones in Umbria,

ie truffle oil, truffles preserved in oil, truffle oil on pizza, truffles in cheese, etc. etc. etc.?

If so, do any of these products capture the essence. And if not, is there any way to experience the

white truffle in the off season in your region, June for example?

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Mike, the answer as to the products is an emphatic yes, although you are not likely to see the products used in restaurants. The Piemontese are pretty rigid in their insistence on eating only what is fresh and in season, and indeed, they enjoy four full seasons, each with its own new produce. While it is true that winter is a challenge in that regard (although some amazing products, including tomatoes, show up from the south), and while they will turn to preserved foods to tide them over, there seems to be a real bias against white truffle products. To be sure, none can measure up to the fresh item, and in that regard, I believe that jarred black truffles from Umbria probably retain more of the essence of black truffles than any of our local white truffle products do. A good truffle oil adds a lot of fragrance, but not a lot of taste. The truffle pastes, made from broken pieces, require the use of a significant quantity to get the truffle essence into your dish. I just bought a white truffle preparation from Zabar's in NYC which contains a cream-butter carrier for the truffle flavor and aroma, and it is damn good, but probably newly arrived. The truffled cheeses, on the other hand, can be very good, and seem capable of retaining a reasonable amount of truffle character longer than most products, in many cases because the cheese itself, one of the local tomas (too-mah), is of excellent quality. I find that the Piemontese are likely to use, say, an exotic variety of basil preserved in excellent olive oil on their pasta in winter, or fruits that were canned at peak ripeness in the summer, but not white truffle products. Often, the Michelin-starred restaurants in the area dress up spring and summer dishes with black truffles, just in case a French Michelin inspector shows up, but these are sometimes (but not always) the local summer black truffles which, while often resembling white truffles when shaved, offer little aroma and less flavor. There are plenty of black truffles around in the Piemonte, winter and summer, but such is the local veneration of the white truffle that the black ones are all but given away. So, you can experiment with some of the white truffle products, but you should not do it at the expense of focus upon whatever the season (and the markets) are serving up. For instance, in June, I might be scanning the menu in a good ristorante to see if asparagus, baked in lemon butter and Parmesan, is being offered by itself as a secondo (entree), which is usually a guarantee of eating some of the finest asparagus that you have ever tasted! Vegetarians often do better than meat-eaters in spring and summer in the Piemonte!


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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While it is diverting to discuss this topic in the abstract, and to award the palm to the white truffle, anyone who goes to Piedmont this season and orders them in a restaurant is likely to be wasting his money. The extreme drought has meant that, not only is the crop small, but it is also inferior because there has not been enough moisture in the soil for the truffles to develop properly.

I was in Piedmont on a press trip last month and was fed perhaps a hundred quid's worth of them shaved over everything in sight. The only one that leapt out at me had just came straight from the earth, and it had faded noticeably within a couple of hours. For most of them, "subtle" would be a kind word - good wild mushrooms would have been much more complex and satisfying. But of course most of those exported are bought and eaten for ostentation, and so the astronomical price this season is set by their rarity, not their quality.

I'd rather eat a good black truffle than an indifferent white truffle. And if I'm paying, I'd rather eat something else entirely. :biggrin:


John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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I think its naive to try and separate the language of discussing truffles from the language of sex or sensuality.

A good white truffle, and sadly, the drought in Italy has made them quite scarce this year, is like a an encounter with a mysterious lover. You only meet occassionally, but you meet with passion. Its a flavor that is best naked, with very little enhancement, other than the subtle heat of eggs or freshly charred meat. Once I had white truffles served over a steamed lobster...and the memory is as haunting as the memory of my first trysts.

And the sturdy black truffle? More reliable, more trustworthy, more of the earth, more what you smell is what you get. Can be fun to fool around with in the kitchen. The one you'll take home day after day.

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I once (on another thread) saw someone explain truffles as "what angel poop would taste like." :hmmm:

Which kind of seals it for me. I don't think I'll be able to eat another one.


Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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So, you can have an illicit dalliance with a white truffle, but it is a black truffle that you want to bring home to meet your mom and to be the mother of your children. Interesting...


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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While it is diverting to discuss this topic in the abstract, and to award the palm to the white truffle, anyone who goes to Piedmont this season and orders them in a restaurant is likely to be wasting his money. The extreme drought has meant that, not only is the crop small, but it is also inferior because there has not been enough moisture in the soil for the truffles to develop properly.

I was in Piedmont on a press trip last month and was fed perhaps a hundred quid's worth of them shaved over everything in sight. The only one that leapt out at me had just came straight from the earth, and it had faded noticeably within a couple of hours. For most of them, "subtle" would be a kind word - good wild mushrooms would have been much more complex and satisfying. But of course most of those exported are bought and eaten for ostentation, and so the astronomical price this season is set by their rarity, not their quality.

I'd rather eat a good black truffle than an indifferent white truffle. And if I'm paying, I'd rather eat something else entirely.  :biggrin:

I strongly disagree with this. I have had Alba truffles or tuber magnatum on several occassion this year and they have ranged from very good to nothing but exceptional. Last time they were the best I have ever had. I have asked truffle experts if the quality this year was bad but I get the same "I don't know what you mean" look from everyone. One person who is a pretty large player on the white truffle market told me the other day that in his opinion this year, although extremely small in quantity, had harvested the greatest truffles he had ever seen. I have to agree. The perfume I experienced in the last ones I had was out of this world. The said person suggested that there has been a lot of false Alba truffles on the market this year even locally in Alba. He also said that maybe the best Alba truffles this year came from Croatia and Slovenia, but nobody is prepared to say how much is actually produced there.


When my glass is full, I empty it; when it is empty, I fill it.

Gastroville - the blog

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Jellybean:

I strongly disagree with this. I have had Alba truffles or tuber magnatum on several occassion this year and they have ranged from very good to nothing but exceptional. Last time they were the best I have ever had. I have asked truffle experts if the quality this year was bad but I get the same "I don't know what you mean" look from everyone. One person who is a pretty large player on the white truffle market told me the other day that in his opinion this year, although extremely small in quantity, had harvested the greatest truffles he had ever seen. I have to agree. The perfume I experienced in the last ones I had was out of this world. The said person suggested that there has been a lot of false Alba truffles on the market this year even locally in Alba. He also said that maybe the best Alba truffles this year came from Croatia and Slovenia, but nobody is prepared to say how much is actually produced there.

Jellybean:

The white truffels I have had so far this year have been of average rather than mediocre quality. I think that a factor that comes in to play a year like this is that truffels that should wait a few days before being consumed are consumed anyway. On the other hand the rumours that exist that quality is bad may also come from restaurateurs and others that find them too expensive and/or difficult to find this year.

Jellybean,

Above is your quote from the "Wait 'till Next Year Thread. Has you opinion about the quality of the white truffle "harvest" changed?

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A cheese shop that I frequent received Peccorino al Tartufo Bianco last week. I tasted it, and it was wonderful. We were discussing the fact that because the white truffles were of lesser quality this year, the cheese was better. This is because the truffles in the cheese weren't overwhelming, rather complementary in flavour.

I'm going to buy another piece of it this week.

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Craig,

Yes, I have changed my view a few days after that post. I now think that the evolution was late this year. The same was seen in France a few years ago.

By the way I felt no desire to continue arguing whether someone buying from Paris, Stockholm or New York for that matter would be a "local" cash buyer or not.


When my glass is full, I empty it; when it is empty, I fill it.

Gastroville - the blog

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Craig,

Yes, I have changed my view a few days after that post. I now think that the evolution was late this year. The same was seen in France a few years ago.

By the way I felt no desire to continue arguing whether someone buying from Paris, Stockholm or New York for that matter would be a "local" cash buyer or not.

Can you show us any other authoritative views that support this point or is it just a personal opinion. As I look over the internet and articles in all the major Italian newspapers I can't find one that supports your claim of exceptional quality - although all support your observation of exceptional prices.

As with wine someone can always make a great wine in a average vintage and I am sure some excellent truffles were discovered. However a few great ones do not define the quality of the entire production.

...and let's not forget Portland.

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Doesn't the way you use it in your dish play an important role as well?

Last week I had twice white truffles from the Alba: one in a good dish Uovo al tartufo, prepared by a two starred chef coming from Alba in Milano. Nevertheless, probably since it was combined with the warm (hot) egg, the taste vanished quickly - only the after taste remained.

In the same week I had another dish in Brussels (no starred restaurant): Noix de Saint-Jacques rôties, émulsion de châtaignes, à la truffe blanche d'Alba. Here I had the impression that I tasted the truffle much better and more intense, since probably the temperature of the whole dish didn't undermine the taste of the truffle.

The black truffles I had the last couple of months were never excellent but rather poor.

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...and let's not forget Portland.

Where, by the way, if anyone cares, Oregon White truffles (Tuber gibbosum) are in abundance, and at only $5/oz, a bargain.

As I earlier mentioned, I have never tried truffles, in Alba, and I'm just guessing I'm going to hear that Oregon truffles are no comparison. I can take it.

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as it happens, i'm working on a piece for next week on "knock-off" truffles, both white and black, that we're getting in la. the whites are from oregon. i find them very sharp, almost petroleum-y (but quite acceptable at the $15 an ounce they're going for down here). the blacks are chinese and at least the ones i bought were very convincing ($4 an ounce). i mistook them for lesser perigord truffles until i found out where they were from.

by the way "risotto con fonduta e tartuffo bianco"?

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I'll be in Piemonte in the midst of truffle season and am wondering if anyone has advice on buying truffles from the Alba market. What does one look for in terms of quality in a truffle? Size, aroma, shape?

Is it feasible to bring one back to the States? How would you pack it and how long will a truffle last?

Is it too early for this seasons prices to be set?

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I am not an expert.. but buy white truffles frequently in season.

outside of Florence we have two villages that have white truffles, San Miniato near Pisa and San Govanni d'asso near Siena.

It is said that San Miniato has so many white truffles they are sent to PIedmonte.. to fill the domand and get a higher price.

There is no pricing until the season starts.. but usually they start around 2,000 a kilo and go higher the closer you get to Christmas and New Years.. when they arrive at 3,000.

I can buy a nice size truffle for about $100.

I wrap in in paper towel, and keep it in the fridge.. in a glass jar.( If I need to keep it I usually buy it and use it!)

the paper towel should be changed daily to keep teh truffle from getting moldy.

REmember the $30,000 truffle bought at the auction here in Florence and flown to london where the chef locked it up for the weekend.. came back and it was mush??

I am going back to the market wednesday and can ask.

They don;t keep the truffles in rice as they say it draws out the essence... which is ok if you are making risotto!

When you are here .. the new thing is truffle salt.. or truffle honey made with white truffles...

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wkl, since you are going to Alba, below is a scheldule of Truffle festival which should be helpful. I am currently doing some planning for my Alba trip in Nov. I was talking to a manager in Oud Sluis (3 michelin star in netherland), he told me not to buy cheap truffle from the market. Some people bought few truffles and realized later that some truffle were filled with brick inside so that it weights heavier. He said Alba is famous is robbing tourist during truffle season. I've never been there but that is what he said to me.

Anyone can suggest me a restaurant in Alba which has good truffle menu/dish during the season? I asked the Alba tourist info centre, they just sent me a list of 40 restaurants. Also, there's about 6 one michelin star restaurants in Alba, are they good for truffle dish? I know there are few general postings on Piedmont restaurants, but I just need one lunch and one dinner in Alba specifically for truffle during the season.

I know they do some truffle hunting excursions, anyone has experienced them? Any advise would be helpful. And, can I bring truffle into UK?

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76th National Fair of the White Truffle

The programme day by day

Friday 22nd of September

9pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

Opening Night Concert by Antonella Ruggiero

Saturday 23rd of September

9pm - Piazza Duomo

Investiture of the Podestà

Historical re-enactment

Sunday 24th of September

10am/6pm - Piazza Garibaldi

Truffles wine and VW beetles

VIIIth Convention of Alba

2pm/8pm – Historic town centre

“The Wine Festival”. Wine tasting stands

5pm - Piazza Duomo

“Bela Trifolera 2006” beauty parade and show.

Award giving ceremony

Friday 29th of September

5pm – Sinio Theatre

Presentation of the Romantic Road of the Langhe and Roero

Saturday 30 of September

9am/8pm Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

3.30pm - Piazza Duomo

Historic Pantalera in costume

5pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

Opening night of the exhibition “Nunziante and the new figuration” by the Painter of the Palio, Antonio Nunziante

Sunday 1st of October

9am/8pm - Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

9am/8pm - Piazza Falcone

Market stalls in the Piazza – gastronomic specialities

9am/8pm - Piazza Rossetti

Herb Market

10am - Piazza Duomo

Assignment of Donkeys to the Town Districts

2.30 – Historic Town Centre

Medieval parade with one thousand participants in costume

4.30pm - Piazza Osvaldo Cagnasso

Donkey Palio

Thursday 5th of October

9pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

The Choirs of the Langa and Roero event

Friday 6th of October

5pm - Historic town centre

“Banda in Fiera” – Musical Event featuring bands conducted by Maestro Claudio Taretto

5.30pm - Teatro Sociale

Opening Ceremony of the 76th White Truffle of Alba National Fair

6.30pm - Historic Town Centre

Cortile della Maddalena

Palatartufo – Cutting of the ribbon and official opening of the 76th White Truffle of Alba National Fair

7pm - Palazzo Mostre e Congressi - Piazza Medford

Official Opening of the Exhibition “From Sassu to Fontana: artists’ posters for the Truffle Fair”, organised by the Ferrero Foundation

Saturday 7th of October

8am/11pm – Alba Bowls Green - Corso Nino Bixio, 40

XXth “Truffle Fair” National Bowls Competition

9am/midnight - Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

3.30pm/6.30pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

Theatrical performances dedicated to authors from our lands: Arpino, Fenoglio and Pavese, presented by the “Marianna Torta Morolin” theatre company of the “Famija Albèisa”, performances all day

3.30pm/6.30pm - Piazza Savona

Raid Historic Cars “The 1930’s: travelling with the old lords and ladies”.

Parade of historic automobiles with characters in period costume

6.30pm - Historic town centre

The White Night of the White Truffle of Alba

Historic Town Centre - Opening night aperitif

Piazza Duomo – Concert given by the “I Casadei” orchestra, with dance floor

Piazza San Francesco - Concert given by “I Trelilu”

Chiesa di San Domenico - Gospel Concert presented by the Geografalbum Association

Entry to Palazzo Mostre e Congressi – “The Crystal Nights”, Gallizio and Alba live.

Piazza Elvio Pertinace

“La Esquina Caliente” and typical tropical “Chiringuito”

Piazza Falcone – “the Harmony of Dance” presented by A.C.E.M. and Alballetto

Piazza Savona

“Roerissima”. Oeno-gastronomic evening

Cortile della Maddalena Palatartufo – Truffle Market

“AlbaQualità” farm produce event – Tasting of niche products

Bars, restaurants and shops stay open

Sunday 8th of October

8am/11pm – Alba Bowls Green - Corso Nino Bixio, 40

XXth “Truffle Fair” National Bowls Competition

9am/8pm - Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

9am/8pm - Piazza Falcone

Market Stalls in the Piazza – gastronomic specialities

9am/8pm - Piazza Rossetti

Herb Market

10am/6pm - Historic town centre

Chocolate meets the Truffle

3.30pm/6.30pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

Theatrical performances dedicated to authors from our lands: Arpino, Fenoglio and Pavese, presented by the “Marianna Torta Morolin” theatre company of the “Famija Albèisa”, performances all day

10am/5pm

Raid Historic Cars “The 1930’s: travelling with the old lords and ladies”- Panoramic tour of the Langhe

Wednesday 11th of October

8am/1pm - Piazza Osvaldo Cagnasso

Piedmontese Cattle Show featuring cattle from Alba

Thursday 12th of October

9pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

The Choirs of the Langa and Roero event

Saturday 14th of October

9am/8pm Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

3.30pm/6.30pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

Theatrical performances dedicated to authors from our lands: Arpino, Fenoglio and Pavese, presented by the “Marianna Torta Morolin” theatre company of the “Famija Albèisa”, performances all day

4.30pm - Teatro Sociale

Historic Hall – Vth Edition of the Grinzane Cavour Alba Pompeia Prize

5pm - Historic town centre

“Banda in Fiera”, musical event for bands conducted by Maestro Claudio Taretto

8.30pm - Historic town centre

The Truffle Bacchanal, banquet organised by the town districts of Alba with traditional music and dancing

Sunday 15th of October

9am/8pm - Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

9am/8pm - Piazza Falcone

Market Stalls in the Piazza – Gastronomic specialities

9am/8pm - Piazza Rossetti

Herb Market

10am/6pm - Historic town centre

«Il Borgo si rievoca» - Historic re-enactment of medieval life with tasting of local produce

3.30pm/6.30pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

Theatrical performances dedicated to authors from our lands: Arpino, Fenoglio and Pavese, presented by the “Marianna Torta Morolin” theatre company of the “Famija Albèisa”, performances all day

Thursday 19th of October

9pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

The “Teremin”. In memory of Pinot Gallizio: “Musical Experiments from the Anti-matter Cavern”

Friday 20th of October

4pm – Ferrero Foundation

“Langhe and Roero, Unesco heritage” conference

Saturday 21st of October

9am/8pm - Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

3.30pm/6.30pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

Theatrical performances dedicated to authors from our lands: Arpino, Fenoglio and Pavese, presented by the “Marianna Torta Morolin” theatre company of the “Famija Albèisa”, performances all day

5pm - Historic town centre

“Banda in Fiera” – Musical Event featuring bands conducted by Maestro Claudio Taretto

6pm – Alba Town Hall Council Hall

Official ceremony recognising the internationality of the White Truffle of Alba National Fair

9pm/11pm - Teatro Sociale

50th Anniversary of the foundation of the Alba Rotary Club

Concert given by the Bartolomeo Bruni Orchestra - Suzuky Orchestra of Turin

Sunday 22nd of October

9am/8pm - Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

9am/8pm - Piazza Falcone

Market stalls in the Piazza – gastronomic specialities

9am/8pm - Piazza Duomo

Aromatica, the historic town centre tells its story through Medicinal Herbs

3.30pm/6.30pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

Theatrical performances dedicated to authors from our lands: Arpino, Fenoglio and Pavese, presented by the “Marianna Torta Morolin” theatre company of the “Famija Albèisa”, performances all day

Thursday 26th of October

9pm - Chiesa di San Domenico

The Choirs of the Langa and Roero Show

Saturday 28th of October

9am/ 8pm - Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

5pm - Historic Town Centre

“Banda in Fiera” – Musical performance by bands conducted by Maestro Claudio Taretto

5pm Chiesa di San Domenico

Opening night of the “Town of Alba” National Art Prize Exhibition

Sunday 29th of October

9am/ 8pm - Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

10am/7pm - Historic town centre

Langhe and Roero in the Piazza.

Tasting stands

3pm - Historic Town Centre

Vth Festival of the “Battista Destefanis” Memorial Flag

Saturday 4th of November

9am/ 8pm - Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

6pm Teatro Sociale

Presentation of the Truffle of Year

Sunday 5th of November

9am/ 8pm Cortile della Maddalena - Palatartufo

Truffle Market and AlbaQualità, event celebrating the oeno-gastronomic specialities and niche products of the Langhe and Roero

Sunday 12th of November

Castello di Grinzane Cavour

VIIIth World Truffle Auction

For further information on the truffle fair:

ENTE FIERA NAZIONALE DEL TARTUFO BIANCO D’ALBA

Piazza Medford, 3

12051 Alba (cn)

Tel. and fax +39.0173.361051

www.fieradeltartufo.org – info@fieradeltartufo.org

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Edited by kkwchan (log)

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Anyone can suggest me a restaurant in Alba which has good truffle menu/dish during the season?  I asked the Alba tourist info centre, they just sent me a list of 40 restaurants.  Also, there's about 6 one michelin star restaurants in Alba, are they good for truffle dish?  I know there are few general postings on Piedmont restaurants, but I just need one lunch and one dinner in Alba specifically for truffle during the season. 

I know they do some truffle hunting excursions, anyone has experienced them?  Any advise would be helpful.  And, can I bring truffle into UK?

Thanks for the info on the truffle fair. I am also there at the beginning of November. Be warned that when you say that Alba has 6 michelin star restaurants they are not actually in the town. The nearest to the town centre is 4km, not a huge distance but my research has led me to believe that taxis are infrequent and expensive. Indeed a hotel in La Morra advised me that the 4 - 5km trip to a local restaurant would cost approximately €40 (I presume this was a return but I wouldn't take it for granted). I hope that taxis around Alba itself will be cheaper!


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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With the help of google translator I think the first white truffles are in. Small amounts so far with a price tag of €2500/kg. It seems that the harvest is late this year and truffles are not at there best. Somebody might want to confirm that though :smile:


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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matthew, when you are there will you be bringing back a truffle? have you ever done it?

has anyone ever travelled with one of these tubers? do you wrap it in a moist cloth and then seal in a small mason jar? would i be taking a big chance getting it through customs?

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I'm not sure if I'm going to bring one back or not, occasionally I buy one in London to cook with but I will have had access to truffle dishes for 8 days so I'm not sure whether I will feel the need to bring one back with me.

I can't see there being any problems bringing them into EU airports, not sure abou the rest of the world. Probably best not to liquidise them before packing though :laugh:


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Truffles are perfectly legal to bring into the U.S., but there is always the issue of what price to declare! I had an extended discussion with someone in Washington a couple of years ago, and the USDA believes that truffles are mushrooms, period, and that it is legal to bring mushrooms into the U.S. Don't ask me why, but it is true.

I am headed over at the end of the month, and it is probably too early to say for sure what the overall quality will be for this truffle season, but I can offer this for those travelling to Alba: Gigi, the owner of Sapori del Gusto (a bookshop that sells food items also) on the main shopping drag in Alba, Via Emanuelle II (also called Via Mestre by the locals), will have good truffles if good truffles are to be had, and if he has none, it may be a commentary on quality. Ponzi on Via Mestre can also deliver quality, but rarely cheaply.

Do NOT store your truffles in risotto rice! The flavor and aroma leach into the rice, and you end up with fragrant rice and a lousy truffle. Store (or travel with) the truffle in a sealed container, wrapped in a MOIST but not wet paper towel or napkin. (If the paper is so moist that the truffle is taking on the moisture, it is too wet.) Keep it in the refrigerator when not travelling, and change the moist towel every day. That done, the truffle should last a week, but always better to eat as soon as possible. One last note: despite what I just said, it is possible for a newly plucked truffle to actually GAIN flavor and aroma with time, but I would not count on it. I was shocked when that happened with a truffle last year that was only OK upon first use.


Edited by Bill Klapp (log)

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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The advice from Bill was spot on. I liked Ponzi for quality and they were willing to pack for shipping. There is also a kitchenware shop on the main drag that name I can not remember maybe "Renzi" or something like that, when i was in there buying truffle shavers they told me of a friend in the family that digs truffles. They called and he met us with fresh dug truffles from the Langhe ranging in size from a few grams up to a whopper 51 gram truffle. Our Italian was not good enough to cut through the thick dialect and accent he had so I just put all my Lira on the table and ask him to match it with truffles. He gave me all of them. I know I paid far less than at Ponzi but do not know if I paid more than he could have gotten locally. Nor did I care. It was a relative bargain compared to in town. Now as to transport and storage. I kept them in a closed jar wrapped in a damp dish towel that he gave me. The jar was quite oversized for what was in it so there was plenty of air. I kept the jar in a soft sided lunch box type of cooler and carried it on. I kept changing the ice every few hours in a ziplock. The flight attendant was quite helpful when I showed her what was in the cooler. With new UK restrictions be sure you can carry them on before you try. If not, bury them in your suitcase with ice packs in a cooler. Spare no expense as the lose of several hundred dollars in truffles is worse than spending a few extra bucks on precaution. Customs is no problem. Once home, well kept, fresh truffles will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Once you start to shave one use it up quickly. The others will hold. They do "ripen' for a few days then peak and then decline so keep an eye on them and if they start to get soft or "wet looking" or the aroma starts to turn more earthy / moldy versus gassy than eat them or grind them into a pound of butter and freeze it.

I will be there in the first week of Nov and what I am hearing so far is it was a little too dry all summer for a good crop. Small crop will mean high prices. BTW the Alba fair is great to visit and to watch the going ons and the smell is intoxicating. DO NOT TRY TO BUY THERE. Unless you are with a local expert from the truffle business you will be sold inferior product for overprice. Even the guys milling about outside the tent and near the tent avoid. They know you are a tourist and if you notice there will be nobody else buying from them.

last year there was a huge crop of whites from Croatia and many ended up in Alba. These are truly fantastic truffles almost identical to the Alba truffle but should cost less as the truffle fair in http://www.zigantetartufi.com/eng/index.php3?p=istra Livade sells them for about a 30% discount to Italian and many consider them as good or better. Of course it is Croats that consider them "better" LOL

David


Edited by dfunghi (log)

David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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