Gourmets in North America rejoice late October when white truffles hit our shores. The best comes from around the town of Alba in Piedmont. Croatians will dispute this statement, but to date it remains true. In the future the quality may change which depends very much on prevailing growing season.
White truffles are more aromatic and pungent than their black brethren from Perigord in France. Specially trained dogs must sniff these unappetizing looking tubers buried undegroudn out, and since they cannot be cultivated the price is high.
It is rumored that the French have been able to cultivate the black truffle, but so far demand still outstrips supply.
This year (2010), one kilogram of white truffle will set you back by $ 8,000.oo to
$ 10,000.00, but then again 10 grams would suffice to infuse two platters of pasta, or champagne marinated salmon, or risotto. White truffles are sold the gram and by weight in specialty and high-end gourmet shops in and around Toronto or Montreal.
from Piedmont happen to be even more rare than the black ones from Perigord. Now, Croatian’s further east ands south Istria region is exporting the precious tuber. During “socialist” times only truffle hunters and highly placed aparatchicks were allowed to enjoy these tasty tubers. They are equally tasty, but cost considerably less than Albese truffles.
I remember the unmistakable aroma of white truffles in an apartment building in Alba while visiting the owner of a fine winery in the region. The smell of truffles cam through because someone in one of the apartments was roasting a chicken studded with slices of these precious tubers. In local restaurants slices shaved over steaming hot plain pasta, or in scrambled eggs sells white truffle fetch high prices, but wealthy patrons pay willingly.
Croatian truffle season is two weeks earlier than the Piedmonts, and cost about 30 per cent less, but are equally flavourful.
Black truffles from France’s Perigord region are more famous because French chefs invented more recipes and more food writers extolled its earthy, pungent, some say indescribable flavour. It goes into fattened goose liver pates, terrines, foie gras mousses and scrambled eggs. Usually, French farmers like to sell it to private consumers and under the table to maximize their profits.
There is really an underground truffle economy not only in Perigord but also in cities like London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo, Berlin and Toronto.
Here, most of the white truffles, the season of which is very short ( three or four weeks) end up in fine restaurants _ Susur, Opus, Prego della Piazza, Auberge du Pommier, Bistro and Bakery Thuet, Splendido, Four Season’s Hotel Yorkville and the Coppi restaurant on Yonge Street.
Pusateri sells a few kilos to interested parties.
Truffles will keep for a few weeks, well wrapped, and placed in a tightly sealed jar.