Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pacific Coast Truffles

The Oregon Black Truffle Season is underway.  As much as I hate to say it, I’m not the kind of chef that gets excited over truffles.  Sure they are incredibly aromatic and offer an earthiness that is unique and mysterious, but I no longer find them special.  You can now find “truffles” everywhere from your corner hamburger restaurant to fine-dining restaurants around the world.  Whether it is in the form of butter, oil or fresh shavings, truffles take on a variety of shapes and aromas.  The quality and value of a truffle is based on the species, origin, size and ripeness.  With some Italian truffles selling for thousands of dollars per pound, counterfeits are as common as fake Louis Vuittons and similarly priced.  Many of these lesser quality imposters are collected in China where they are harvested prematurely using large rakes.  The species is less aromatic to begin with and when harvested early, smell like little more than damp cardboard.  In the Pacific Northwest, ranging from just North of San Francisco to Vancouver, there has been a growing interest in native truffles, which can be found primarily below Douglas Fir trees.  A few hobbyists and entrepreneurs have trained dogs to find truffles at their peak ripeness, resulting in a truffle with an intense aroma reminiscent of its European cousins with a distinctly Pacific Coast quality.  Unfortunately these truffles are difficult to find outside of the areas where they are found.  This week the forager we work with had a few golf ball-sized tubers that we quickly snatched up.  I hope to get a few more deliveries before the season ends in April.

No comments:

Post a Comment