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paulraphael

Oregon Truffles

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This must have come up before, but I didn't see anything in the archives.

What's the story with these things? Are they really any good compared with the European ones that cost 10 times as much?


Notes from the underbelly

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Paul, not in my experience. I gave them a try several times - white truffles. Absolutely without character in my experience, and I'm not exaggerating. literally, no flavor and almost no aroma. I might have had a run of bad luck, but given the extraordinary wealth among the other Oregon mountain mushrooms I shipped in regularly, I found these wholly wanting. (By the way - no relationship, but if any want a good Oregon source, I enjoyed working with Ottoboni Mushrooms very much).


Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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Perhaps Cole Danehower will post again, but when my interest was spurred on by the recent threads on Tennessee and North Carolina truffles I found this post on Oregon truffles in a thread on truffles from Washington State. click

I don't know about Washington truffles, but in the case of Oregon truffles it is typical that they are harvested without regard to their stage of development, resulting in most truffles one sees in the commercial markets being extremely underipe and basically unfit for cooking.

I am told that it is best to buy directly from a picker, and to be sure to ask to have the truffle nicked. For a black truffle, the interior should be as dark a chocolate brown as possible. The lighter the color the less ripe it is, and the less ripe it will ever become. For white truffles the interior should be a pale cream color. Most truffles are harvested underipe so are poor examples . . . unfortunately that is also what most consumers ever see. This is slowly changing as pickers become more educated about the ripening process (this is one of the objectives of the Truffle Festival in Eugene) and consumers become more demanding of truly ripe truffles.

Experts tell me that when truly ripe, the Oregon truffle (and I would suspect by extension, the Washington truffle) has a slightly different sensory character than Italian truffles, but equally as good an overall aspect. In fact, many years ago a large Italian company was "cutting" their truffle-based producst with Oregon truffles because they were cheaper, and virtually indistinguishable from Italian truffles!

-Cole


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Had a wonderful time today at the Oregon Truffle Festival, returning home with a very-restrained single white truffle (ripe, although probably better tomorrow), single black truffle (not yet ripe), and some very yummy chevre.

I was going to make a dish I've made before, a risotto with truffle oil, and intended to shave the white truffle over each serving. I read a comment recently, though, that made me think that might not be the best use of my truffle. Speaking about ordering truffles in restaurants, fooddude37 wrote in Chow.com: "Unless a restaurant is VERY VERY well known for their use of truffles, I absolutely won't order any dishes involving truffles because more often than not, the cook/chef will throw in truffle oil to augment the flavor, instead killing the flavor of the entire dish."

Will I be wasting the truffle on a dish that already has truffle oil in it? :unsure:


Life is short. Eat the roasted cauliflower first.

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What were your impressions of the truffles at the festival? Do you get the impression that American farmers and hounds are starting to know what they're doing?


Notes from the underbelly

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I'm no truffle expert, so I don't know for sure. I didn't spring for the Truffle Cultivation Seminar ($500) or even the cheapest package ($425), but only went to the Marketplace ($15, and there were tastes!).

The guys from Wild Oregon Edibles certainly seemed to know their stuff and were very generous with information. Each truffle buyer also got four pages of instructions!


Life is short. Eat the roasted cauliflower first.

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