Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Elusive White Truffle

Dave and I have tasted black truffles, but we've never had the opportunity to try a white truffle. That's why we got really excited about the idea of giving each other half a white truffle (i.e. we'd just buy one whole truffle) for Christmas this year. It was brilliant - we figured we'd pay maybe $150 or so and we'd finally find out what all the hype was about ("This is one mushroom we are not going to wash," he declared). Our excitement was short-lived; we went to the Dean and Deluca website and found out that one ounce of white truffle costs...get this...$500! It was insane. The black truffles were more along the lines of what we were expecting - $165/oz - but the white truffles were astronomically more expensive.

We discussed the situation. We figured that perhaps we could just buy a truffle shaver ($25) and hang it up as a symbol of one day being able to buy a white truffle. Or, we rationalized, perhaps it was for the best because walking out of Dean and Deluca with a $500 truffle in our pockets might not be the safest (What if we get mugged by a crazed foodie?). In any case, we shelved our aspirations for tasting the white truffle until the day we might run across some restaurant that might have it in their menu.

One day I went to Buon Italia, one of my favorite stores in Chelsea Market, and found this:


It was one ounce of white truffle butter made with 20% real white truffle for $15. The sign said that one ounce of this butter mixed in pasta would be good for four appetizer portions. I bought some fresh pasta and we gave it a try:


We could taste the pasta and the parmesan cheese we dusted over it. But try as we might, we could not ferret out any sort of flavor or aroma beyond the fresh pasta and the butter and cheese we had folded into it. We ended up adding a bit of black truffle salt to the dish.


Oh well - we'll just keep our eyes peeled for the next few months as the truffle season approaches. Until then, the flavor of the white truffle and the reason it inspires truffle-mania (Truffle Riches Drive Men to Secrecy, Crime in Italy) will remain a mystery to us.

And I just found this article with an update on this year's truffle situation: The Italian Job

1 comment:

v said...

looks like you aren't the only one!

http://nymag.com/restaurants/features/40616/