Truffles From A Farm Near You

Someone saving a truffle

Berthold Steinhilber / Laif / Redux

We hope, from a culinary perspective, that truffle cultivation has advanced enough such that the statement in the title of Federico Kukso’s article below is correct. Thanks to the Atlantic, and to Knowable, for this:

Truffles Are Everywhere Now

Farmers around the world are trying to cash in on the prized black truffle.

Every morning, for three months of the year, Lola wakes up at 8 and goes hunting. Continue reading

Truffle Entrepreneur, Immigrant Son’s Success

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Ian Purkayastha, the twenty-four-year-old wunderkind behind the luxury-food company Regalis, aims to “demystify this bourgeois product for a new generation.” PHOTOGRAPH BY KRISTIN GLADNEY / WIEDEN+KENNEDY

It could just be that I have had a nearly two-decade love for truffles; or the storyline combining entrepreneurship, economics and food, a mix that I favor; or maybe my being the son of an immigrant explains my response to this post at the New Yorker’s website; probably it is because I can almost picture my own son in such a story, in a parallel universe; whatever, enjoy:

HOW A TEXAS TEEN-AGER BECAME NEW YORK CITY’S PREMIER TRUFFLE DEALER

On a bare side street in Long Island City, Queens, beside Oh Bok Steel Shelving & Electric Supply, the Regalis luxury-food company keeps its goods. Upon entering the warehouse through a small red door, a visitor is immediately greeted by an intoxicating and pungent scent: the unmistakable, and nearly indescribable, odor of truffles. Continue reading

Truffle Cultivation

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Black truffles at La Toque restaurant in Napa, Calif. The owner, Ken Frank, who buys truffles from Australia, backs efforts to grow them in Napa. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

Because they are such a mystery, and intersect various of our interests in these pages, we feel compelled to share this:

Has a Start-Up Found the Secret to Farming the Elusive Truffle?

The American Truffle Company has a new technique that it says can expand the range of the Perigord truffle in North America, but success is proving costly. Continue reading

Treasure Defined Organically

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Five lots of white truffles on display entice bidders in both Philadelphia and Italy. Kristen Hartke for NPR

It is that time of year again. We are reminded of those expensive mounds that come out of leafy loamy earth in Croatia, Italy, France and we few other fortunate places:

A $112,000 White Truffle?! At Auction, Philly Embraces Fungi Mania

KRISTEN HARTKE

Bowtie-bedecked auctioneer Samuel Freeman was faced with the unusual task of convincing a crowd to buy something he admits he knows nothing about: the Tartufo Bianco d’Alba, or Alba White Truffle.

“I’ve never auctioned food before,” Freeman says, “and I’d never even eaten a truffle until two days ago.” Apparently that first taste won him over. “It was unbelievable.”

At $458 per ounce once the bidding got underway, those truffles better knock your socks off. Continue reading

Save The Truffle, A Campaign We Are Destined To Support

3b044a32123901-56703376190bcThis is a series of videos realized to launch “Save The Truffle” a new brand aiming to promote traditions and the conservation of the White Truffle of Alba. In this videos Agnello Renato, one of the last and most important “trifulau” (truffle seeker) of the zone, shares his stories about being a truffle seeker.For this project I took care of shooting, lighting and editing.
Creative project by Grid Studio.

Our family has a very happenstance connection to truffles that goes back to some sustainable tourism development work I carried out in Croatia starting in 2000, which led to our nirvanic 2006-2007 spent on an island in the southern Adriatic. But on my first visit to Croatia, in late autumn 2000, on a weekend off from work a local friend took me to Istria and the rest is history. You either love them or you probably will be disgusted by them, and I was in the former camp. A month later, coming home to my family in Costa Rica, I had some vacuum-packed fresh truffles; since then, we have been devotees.

A few years later, Milo became an encyclopedic mycophile, and a few years after that Seth had the chance to take a mycology courses at Cornell as an undergrad. So we are all happy to see this campaign represented by the logo above left. The article that brought our attention to this campaign is worth a read, whether you are a foodie, a fungist, or any kind of traditionalist. Click the logo to see some of the early creative work emerging for the campaign. We look forward to seeing more, but for now appreciate the journalist’s keen eye for what really matters in this story:

Amid Hills of Wine and Truffles, a Mission to Give Fungus Room to Breathe

Patrimonial Matrimonial Innovation

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A fort atop the Italian town of Montalcino. In October, residents there and in neighboring San Giovanni d’Asso will vote on whether to merge the two communities. CreditNadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

Although we appreciate, even adore, the wines and the fungi referenced in this story, it is worth reading for a look at practical issues facing aging towns that possess world class patrimony:

A Merger of Brunello and Truffles? 2 Tuscan Towns May Be Better Together

By

SAN GIOVANNI D’ASSO, Italy — Two small towns in southeastern Tuscany, one famous for red wine, the other for truffles and organic grain, are considering a municipal marriage of convenience that could blur their cherished identities, separately formed over the centuries.

With a population of just 853, San Giovanni d’Asso can no longer deliver basic services to its citizens on a daily basis. Left with only three town officials to do the work, something as simple as getting an identity card drawn up and stamped requires making an appointment days in advance.

So the town’s mayor, Fabio Braconi, picked up the phone back in 2014 and sought help from a neighbor, Montalcino, 10 miles to the south across rolling wheat fields. Continue reading

Forests Giving Deeply Appreciated Gifts

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‘You could take an iron rake and rip outwards several feet from the trunk of a fir until you gathered up every truffle in the vicinity.’ Photograph: Jason Wilson for The Guardian

Two Raxa Collective representatives made their way in late autumn (northern hemisphere) to Istria, Croatia. Those same two, and their two sons, had lived in Croatia 2006-2007 but had stayed on their island at the very southern limit of Croatia; never had the chance to make it to Istria during truffle season. So, the two who finally went made the Istria visit a culinary weekend, which will need to be the subject of another post.

The exposure to truffles in their native habitat is an experience that is difficult to describe, because it is at once a deep immersion in a very comforting deciduous forest ecosystem during a time of delicious decay; and it is simultaneously a whetting of the appetite. We are now inclined to seek out more places where we can experience this. For now, the foodies among us, and particularly the mycologically oriented, will appreciate this article in today’s Guardian Environment section, which clues us in on one possible next location for next autumn:

Truffle trackers: how dogs and humans help ecology and gastronomy in Oregon

Hunting for the underground fungus delicacy with dogs ensures ripe truffles and minimum environmental impact – and it’s a great way to bond with a canine

Jason Swindle has already learned the best and hardest lesson that his dog can teach. “It’s about trust. River does the craziest things when we’re out here – she charges up cliffs or hillsides – and I have really just had to learn to trust her.”

This trust is perhaps even sweeter than the prize she helps him find beneath the forest floor: truffles. Continue reading

Thanksgiving, 2014

The problem with cooking Thanksgiving dinner abroad is never just the shopping. It’s the local culinary aesthetic. CREDIT WAYNE THIEBAUD

The problem with cooking Thanksgiving dinner abroad is never just the shopping. It’s the local culinary aesthetic. CREDIT WAYNE THIEBAUD

For those whose heritage includes someone who has proclaimed thanks in a land distant from where s/he was born, and/or broke bread with the locals, this day has a particular ring to it. For anyone who has commemorated the specific holiday in lands distant to their own original homes, there is an odd symmetry to the original Thanksgiving event. This New Yorker classic-in-the-making will bring special pleasure to all who have commemorated the Thanksgiving holiday in far off lands:

NOVEMBER 23, 2009 ISSUE

Pilgrim’s Progress

Thanksgiving without borders.

BY

…I am what you might call an amateur of Thanksgiving. My family prefers the phrase “regrettably hospitable,” but I would add strategically hospitable, because Thanksgiving dinner has turned out to be the stealth weapon of my reporting life. Everybody knows something about Thanksgiving, though not necessarily what we eat or why we eat it. Continue reading