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robert brown

All about truffles

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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.

Thanks for the info. Few more questions about storage:

- damp dish towel... how wet should it be?

- it is better with an oversized jar so that it has plenty of air?

- changing ice every few hours... what is the proper temperature to keep truffle?

- Also, when you buy the truffles from stores in Alba, does it come in a small jar or something? It must have some kind of packaging ready for travellers. If not, is it easy for me to buy packs of ice over there?

Thanks


Edited by kkwchan (log)

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There are several stores to buy from including some of the butchers shops. Just ask around, plus most will have a sign in the window saying they sell truffles. Ask at restaurants you eat at if they know a place to buy from. They are not at all hard to find. Ponzi is right on main drag. Yes the jar should be large enough to allow for air. No they will not provide one. Yes it is easy to find one. Ponzi did offer to package for shipping for a small fee. The paper towel or dish towel should be damp or moist NOT WET. The idea is it will not absorb moisture away from truffle nor will it make the truffle wet. The ideal temperature is refrigerator temp. 35 or so. If you keep it cool at least during shipping it will be fine for 12 hours or so. It MUST NOT GET HOT OR WARM. as that will severely diminish the shelf life and the quality.

So far this season there is a small crop of mostly small size truffles. Both black and white. Small truffles will sell at a lower price than large. Look outside of Alba, as well as the entire Langhe area. Piemonte has truffles like here http://www.comune-bergamasco.it/macelleria_guastavigna.htm as well

David


David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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The region around us in Monferrato is famous for truffles. There is a very good truffle fair in Moncalvo every year. The prices are lower than Alba and the quality is higher. Alba is well know to us as the place where the tourists buy truffles. Be careful there are loads of truffles from "other places" that are sold in Alba as being local. This is much less true in Monferrato.

Large truffles cost a lot more than small ones but taste the same.

I have a good friend that has started a little gastro tour company and he does truffle hunts in Monferrato and will get you top quality truffles from his friends that hunt. See www.buongustotours.com Tell Paolo I sent you. He speaks English very well.

By the way, we wrap them in dry paper towels and put them in plastic boxes like you get from a deli. We always eat them right away, because they die very quickly. A three day old truffle is starting to fade already. After 10 days you have wasted your money and all you will have left is a shrunken little stinker that is completely worthless. If you buy one fresh truffle and wrap it like I said...leave it in the car while you go shopping... you will come back to a smell that will almost knock you over. Trust me, I did it!

Good hunting


Edited by SWISS_CHEF (log)

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With all due respect chef my experiences have been different than yours as to shelf life o f a fresh White truffle. I have had truffles actually improve over a 2 or 3 day timeframe as they ripened and then held for a few days before starting to wane. I have had fine meals with 10 day old truffles. Truffles I knew when they had been dug and I knew when they had been eaten. Perhaps the dry towel and plastic box was part of the problem. The dry towel will pull moisture out of the truffle and if the box is too small or sealed for too long the truffle will "die". They need air.

David


David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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The region around us in Monferrato is famous for truffles. There is a very good truffle fair in Moncalvo every year. The prices are lower than Alba and the quality is higher. Alba is well know to us as the place where the tourists buy truffles. Be careful there are loads of truffles from "other places" that are sold in Alba as being local. This is much less true in Monferrato.

Large truffles cost a lot more than small ones but taste the same.

I have a good friend that has started a little gastro tour company and he does truffle hunts in Monferrato and will get you top quality truffles from his friends that hunt. See www.buongustotours.com Tell Paolo I sent you. He speaks English very well.

By the way, we wrap them in dry paper towels and put them in plastic boxes like you get from a deli. We always eat them right away, because they die very quickly. A three day old truffle is starting to fade already. After 10 days you have wasted your money and all you will have left is a shrunken little stinker that is completely worthless. If you buy one fresh truffle and wrap it like I said...leave it in the car while you go shopping... you will come back to a smell that will almost knock you over. Trust me, I did it!

Good hunting

Thanks for this. Will he sell the truffles w/out the tour? I am going at the end of November.

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Can anybody tell me where the €600 pasta dish with white truffle is served in London? :rolleyes:

...and there's something wonderful about eating a €25 pasta dish with fresh white truffle grated over it knowing that the same dish could cost you up to €600 in London.

Edited by Matthew Grant (log)

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

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Was just at the Moncalvo truffle fest for the second year running and the numbers are way down, quality is ok but the prices are high. Nothing like last year and I am told 2004 before was even better.

I am told the truffles will be chaeper in late November and early December then sky rocket for Christmas and drop off again until they run out.

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Thanks for this. Will he sell the truffles w/out the tour? I am going at the end of November.

Sure, no problem. I know hunters too so PM me when you are ready to come and I will give you directions to our place in Zanco. What ever you do don't buy them in Alba.

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With all due respect chef my experiences have been different than yours as to shelf life o f a fresh White truffle. I have had truffles actually improve over a 2 or 3 day timeframe as they ripened and then held for a few days before starting to wane. I have had fine meals with 10 day old truffles. Truffles I knew when they had been dug and I knew when they had been eaten. Perhaps the dry towel and plastic box was part of the problem. The dry towel will pull moisture out of the truffle and if the box is too small or sealed for too long the truffle will "die". They need air.

David

Hi David,

I can fully understand that they might be better after a day or two but would a 10 day old truffle really be as good as it was a week earlier? Also, if a truffle gets too wet is just grows a black mold and develops an ammonia smell, thats why I use a dry towel, wrap it very loosly and change it if it gets wet. I saw one guy at Moncalvo storing his truffles in dirt... now there is an idea!

Ed

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Here are a few pictures of us buying at the Moncalco fest. I bought from the same guy last year. Two truffles the size of a nickle cost 50 euros.

gallery_25747_3850_7021.jpg

gallery_25747_3850_28370.jpg

gallery_25747_3850_66764.jpg

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I have been following e-gullet forums for some time, without posting, but today have taken the plunge! :biggrin:

I am fortunate to live in Piedmont, home of the world's most delicious and pungent white truffles (tuber magnum pico), which in late November are reaching their most instense peak. However I do know that white truffles are not exclusive to Piedmont, they are found in the woods all over this geographical climate zone, North and Central Italy (Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche) and over the border in Slovenia and Crotia, maybe a few more places, and it appears that people living in these places also swear by their truffles.

Now I have only started appreciating white truffles since I moved to Piedmont some 6 years ago, and I am curious to her from gourmet travellers who have eaten truffles in several locations, not just one, what is their opinion. Are some truffles better then others? Is it like wine, different vintages and localities produce better tartufi? I would love to hear serious opinions.


Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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I, too, have a retirement home in Neive, and while others may make their claims (including the ever-popular "most of the truffles at the Alba fair come from Croatia" which, even if true, doesn't matter, because the fair is over before the best truffles are even available in November), it is hard to imagine any better truffles than those from the area around Alba. The best that I have ever had come from Monchiero. I have also learned that the best truffles, and often the whitest for some reason, come from the roots of oak trees rather than chestnut or hazelnut.


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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I, too, have a retirement home in Neive, and while others may make their claims (including the ever-popular "most of the truffles at the Alba fair come from Croatia" which, even if true, doesn't matter, because the fair is over before the best truffles are even available in November), it is hard to imagine any better truffles than those from the area around Alba.  The best that I have ever had come from Monchiero.  I have also learned that the best truffles, and often the whitest for some reason, come from the roots of oak trees rather than chestnut or hazelnut.

Bill actually I was more interested in truffles from other regions besides Piedmont, it was not my intention to get into a discussion of which sub-areas of Piedmont are better then others. Have you tried tartufi from the Northern Monferrato around Castelnouvo Don Bosco, or around southern Monferato around Acqui Terme to compare with those from around the Langhe? :raz:

BTW what type of truffles do they serve at autogrill? :laugh:


Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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The autogrill serves an absolutely perfect white truffle oil. It's completely pure, it's never even seen the dirt...only a chemist shop! :laugh::laugh:

I live part time in Umbria, and we have white truffles as well.

gallery_14010_3612_27505.jpg

These truffles are from Pietralunga, in northern Umbrian, close to the Le Marche border. They are not the same variety as the truffles from Piedmonte. Unfortunately I don't have my truffle book with me (I'm in NY) so I can't tell you the latin name. They are not as fragrant as the Alba truffles, however...they are quite delicious and fragrant and cost about 1/10 of what you have to pay.

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And I being in Florence can go to either San Miniato.... on the way to Pisa.. or San Giovanni D'asso to get mine.

Right now they are going for 280 for 100 grams...( 3 ounces)

Of course here they say they send the truffles from San Miniato up to Alba for the sale!!!

gallery_10700_574_57146.jpg

I get mine at Conti at the Central Market in Florence..


Edited by divina (log)

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I had a very nice lunch at the restaurant "Da Maria" in my home town of Zanco last week and as I was headed out the door, Giorgio pulled me into the kitchen to show me a 200+ gram truffle that was found in the neighboring village of Frinco. It was huge and prompted a discussion. In Giorgio's opinion...the last place he would ever buy a truffle is at a truffle fair "they are never local" is what he told me. "I only buy from local hunters and I only buy from the ones I know well...otherwise I find them myself" (his dogs are in a pen in the parking lot). Around us, Moncalvo, Muresengo and Montechiaro are all famous for their truffles.

Who's is the best... I guess it depends on where you come from... :wink:

Edit: Oh by the way...About the 200 gram truffle: value is over 700 euros and destined for a client driving up from Rome later that weekend.


Edited by SWISS_CHEF (log)

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Giorgio pulled me into the kitchen to show me a 200+ gram truffle that was found in the neighboring village of Frinco. It was huge and prompted a discussion. In Giorgio's opinion...the last place he would ever buy a truffle is at a truffle fair "they are never local" is what he told me. "I only buy from local hunters and I only buy from the ones I know well...otherwise I find them myself"

Edit: Oh by the way...About the 200 gram truffle: value is over 700 euros and destined for a client driving up from Rome later that weekend.

Hi Ed,

I too am always dubious about truffles from truffle fairs, some friends once had the experience in Barolo (town) where they were having a little street fair, they were about to but a tartufo, when Francesca the owner of the winery we had sent them too came by, when the seller saw her and realized that they were with her, he put the truffles down and dug into a bag under the counter to bring out the better one. Moral there will be always be 2 grades being sold, and the fairs are for tourists after all (not only foreigners, but from Milan or Turin) so have your Piedmontese friend with you, or stick to restaurants where they all have their own trifalau conection amd are not going to lose their reputation serving anything but the best.

We were in Neive at La Contea a few weeks ago and Tonino the owner was parading his basket of fresh truffles including a 200 gram biggie, but given his prices I think that whomever buys it will pay a lot more then in Frinco!

The pictures of Umbrian and Tuscan truffles to me they look smoother and not as gnarled or rooty as Piedmontese, wish we could post a smell on the forum :biggrin: I can't even find find the button to post a picture yet :sad:


Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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Sampaguita, no truffles at the Autogrill, but a decent panino, a sometimes excellent crostada and, at certain times of the year, fresh squeezed juice from the blood oranges of Sicilia!

I would be skeptical of the tartufi at La Contea as well. I think that Tonino studied marketing in the U.S.!


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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"I would be skeptical of the tartufi at La Contea as well.  I think that Tonino studied marketing in the U.S.!"

Whether he was in marketing or not, they were only offering truffles as a pre-shaved dish at an extra 35 euro which we didn't go for as I prefer the ritual of selection and weighing of the tartufo at the table, somehow doesn't see right otherwise.

Heres a shot taken at our trifalau friends house, hope it comes out OK :hmmm:

tn_gallery_41363_3962_16210.jpg


Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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My understanding is that White Truffle's are allowed to be brought into the US - can someone point me to where it is in writing somewhere, so when I arrive and get and unfamiliar agent - I can show them the info....

Thank you.

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