Hillbilly Truffle
November 30, 2009 4:40 PM   Subscribe

Hillbilly Truffle "In France, they call them Périgords—and they’re known as the diamonds of the kitchen. You probably know them as black truffles, those baseball-sized fungi that are sniffed out of the earth by pigs or dogs, get sold for thousands of dollars, and transform any meal into a luxury item. So what happens when—sacrée merde!—an obsessed Yankee learns to grow them in the scrub woods of Davy Crockett’s Tennessee?"
posted by vronsky (66 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
The black truffle found in Périgord and Provence, and now Chuckey, Tennessee...

OK, now they're just fucking with us.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:47 PM on November 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


spoiler: yes he can and they beat the ones from France :)
posted by vronsky at 4:51 PM on November 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's about damn time someone figure out truffle cultivation. All mushrooms, really. Why can I get champignons de Paris year-round but morels and porcini are some special gift from rotting trees in the wild?
posted by Nelson at 4:52 PM on November 30, 2009


Awesome for foodies, sucks for France.
posted by caddis at 5:01 PM on November 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


At 640 dollars a pound, prices could come down a fair bit without impoverishing any French truffle farmers. :)
posted by Malor at 5:04 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been following this story for quite awhile now. There is the claim from the Garland's they were the first to successfully cultivate the black truffle, and I haven't been able to confirm who was first, not that it matters much. They both appear to have successfully done it at approximately the same time. The science behind it is fascinating. I've tried digging for truffles locally around oaks and using a dog, but with no success.
posted by Mike Buechel at 5:12 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


There exist no French truffle farmers. They forage. Hunter might be the best term.
/semantic nonsense
posted by caddis at 5:13 PM on November 30, 2009


Colour me skeptical. This isn't the first time someone has claimed to crack to truffle riddle. Any cultivated truffles I've ever eaten (and admittedly my sample size is pretty small) are too heavy with the footy top notes and have no other aromas underneath.
posted by Keith Talent at 5:14 PM on November 30, 2009


That's awesome. (checks map....good Lord, Chuckey's clear out past Johnson City).
posted by jquinby at 5:15 PM on November 30, 2009


...make that near JC. Past if you're coming from the other side.
posted by jquinby at 5:16 PM on November 30, 2009


Yeah, commoditize the hell out of this mushroom, much like how those agricultural engineers figured out wine in Napa Valley. Bring in the local Tennessee universities' Agricultural Science departments and take the bullshit out of the market.

They use pigs to sniff out mushrooms? Holy fuck, we have things called "farms" these days.
posted by amuseDetachment at 5:18 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nelson: It's about damn time someone figure out truffle cultivation. All mushrooms, really. Why can I get champignons de Paris year-round but morels and porcini are some special gift from rotting trees in the wild?

Most of the ones that are difficult or impossible to cultivate are obligate symbionts of certain plants, usually one or more species of trees. Plus, sometimes the mycelium is easy to grow but the conditions that produce the actual mushrooms are very obscure.

I actually wonder if these guys are 'cultivating' truffles so much as they are simply growing a bunch of the proper kind of tree and searching them for truffles. Some kinds of truffles were known to naturally occur in North America.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:21 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sadly, the education of the youth of amerika is declining in more than one way. The other day I was at the grocery store and the checker was unable to identify a Périgord.
/traditional
posted by Abiezer at 5:26 PM on November 30, 2009 [36 favorites]


Why can I get champignons de Paris year-round but morels and porcini are some special gift from rotting trees in the wild?

Because some mushrooms are specialists, growing and fruiting only under exacting conditions. For example, morels fruit more heavily after a fire; one of the many variables that are not that easy to artificially replicate.

They're not from rotting trees either- morels have a symbiotic relationship with living plants, like ash trees. So unlike something like king boletes, just having a bunch of damp cellulose and lignin doesn't do much for morels.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:39 PM on November 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I actually wonder if these guys are 'cultivating' truffles so much as they are simply growing a bunch of the proper kind of tree and searching them for truffles. Some kinds of truffles were known to naturally occur in North America.

Each tree is inocculated at planting time with a slurry of truffles.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:41 PM on November 30, 2009


MetaFilter: too heavy with the footy top notes and no other aromas underneath.
posted by klanawa at 5:54 PM on November 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


*shuffles*
posted by jonmc at 5:56 PM on November 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


USA! USA! USA! ... and all that, but we'd better be careful ...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:57 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hm. The stereo separation on that video is complete. I started watching it with only the right earphone in and wondered why I wasn't hearing anything but a fiddle, despite the fact that people seemed to be talking. Switching to the left and I got the narration and no fiddle. The latter's better IMO.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:27 PM on November 30, 2009


Excellent timing! Just last week I learned that apparently truffles are fairly common in the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon black truffle can be found in the duff beneath a Douglas fir* and November is the time to look for them.

My understanding is that you find a Douglas fir, then rake around through the needles on the ground, hunting for something that looks (according to the pics I've seen) like cat shit. I can do that.

* Agent Cooper's favorite tree
posted by ErikaB at 6:32 PM on November 30, 2009


The whole thing sounds immorel to me.
posted by Bromius at 6:34 PM on November 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


You have to be a hell of an obsessive to commit to an experiment that won't show fruit for a decade, especially where so many people have failed before you. I'm impressed.

Some of the 19th century French recipes that are mentioned in passing sound fascinating.
posted by Leon at 6:36 PM on November 30, 2009


Sure, but he'll have to have them all pulled out after the savoy truffle.
posted by punkfloyd at 6:58 PM on November 30, 2009


I quit mushroom cultivation around 2003. My mentors at the time were predicting that the black truffle problem would be cracked in 5 to 7 years.

IME the flavor and aroma of mushrooms is affected by more variables than wine, it may be easy to grow a particular species, but hard to get a specific flavor profile.

My oysters grown in a pasteurized hay and grain substrate, under as sterile conditions as possible, had a very clean and simple flavor, a bit boring. I put one in the blender with some distilled water and sprayed the juice all over the garden. Mushrooms started sprouting all over the place in a few weeks, all a clone of the original blender mushroom. The ones from the compost pile tasted completely different from the ones from the garden clippings pile.

As an experiment, I rehydrated one of the Shiitake hay/wood chips block with malted wort from a failed beer brewing experiment. Those mushrooms were delicious but stunted and twisted.

I really hope someone really cracks truffle biology in the next decade or so to a degree where one can buy home cultivation kits.
posted by dirty lies at 7:08 PM on November 30, 2009 [16 favorites]


The sad thing is that I still wouldn't be able to afford these. I have had great success with Dartagnan's black trufffle butter, fairly affordable at $20/lb. Pungent, sweet and creamy, a little goes a long way, and melted on top of a steak, stirred into some eggs or simply spread over some warm crusty bread, mmmm, heaven.
posted by vronsky at 7:27 PM on November 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


If it was more about the exclusivity than the taste, they'll just find something else. Like, petrified condor shit.
posted by spiderskull at 7:27 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyone who claims that the desire for truffles is merely about exclusivity is someone, I am firmly convinced, who has never eaten a truffle. You simply cannot get that flavour in any other way, it cannot be mistaken for anything else, and quite frankly it is what sex tastes like.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:34 PM on November 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: Doesn't do much for morels.
posted by Zinger at 8:00 PM on November 30, 2009


(And boy did I time that post right...)
posted by Zinger at 8:01 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


from the NY Times article -- "Most fungi sprout a stem and cap that contain reproductive spores. The truffle does not. The truffle is a “sack of spores,” explained Dr. Trappe, and while other mushrooms need nothing but a rustling wind to loosen and spread their seed, the subterranean bulb needs to be digested and excreted by an animal. In order to attract rodents and marsupials, the truffle, like a tiny underground perfume factory, produces up to 50 different chemicals that combine to create a scent powerful enough to penetrate up to three feet of earth."
posted by vronsky at 8:07 PM on November 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


They're touting truffles in these parts too.
posted by islander at 8:19 PM on November 30, 2009


quite frankly it is what sex tastes like

I have a gay chef friend who described truffled honey as "it tastes like butt". Which seemed both revolting, and exactly spot-on.

Part of the problem with truffles is there's some alternate product ("white truffle"?) that's often passed off as black truffle and has much less flavour. Of the six times I've had a dish with real truffles shaved on it, five of them had very little flavour or interest. The sixth, which I assume was real black truffle, has kept me interested.
posted by Nelson at 8:26 PM on November 30, 2009


Part of the problem with truffles is there's some alternate product ("white truffle"?) that's often passed off as black truffle and has much less flavour...
posted by Nelson


I find the white Italian truffle superior to the black French. More perfume, deeper flavour.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:39 PM on November 30, 2009


oneirodynia:
Because some mushrooms are specialists, growing and fruiting only under exacting conditions. For example, morels fruit more heavily after a fire; one of the many variables that are not that easy to artificially replicate.

Um, actually fire has been quite easy to artificially replicate, at least for the last 50,000 years or so.

They're not from rotting trees either- morels have a symbiotic relationship with living plants, like ash trees. So unlike something like king boletes, just having a bunch of damp cellulose and lignin doesn't do much for morels.

Half correct. The morels seem to fruit when their symbiotic hosts are threatened - either by fire, or fungal attack (from a parasitic fungus, not morels - as symbiots, they don't attack but support the health of their host). It's as if the "critters" only reproduce when necessary (since the mushroom is the fruiting body of the fungus) - when the host appears to be giving up the ghost.

(Cue ST:DS9 Trill reference...)

Ergo, when the host tree is rotting, the morels do indeed appear.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:48 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um, actually fire has been quite easy to artificially replicate, at least for the last 50,000 years or so.

Yes, but the authorities tend to get angry when you torch a forest. Which is what we're talking here, not using your butane torch to heat a sack of straw.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:41 AM on December 1, 2009


Mushroom nerd fight!!
posted by i_cola at 2:34 AM on December 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Part of the problem with truffles is there's some alternate product ("white truffle"?) that's often passed off as black truffle and has much less flavour. Of the six times I've had a dish with real truffles shaved on it, five of them had very little flavour or interest. The sixth, which I assume was real black truffle, has kept me interested.
posted by Nelson


Like Keith Talent, I find this statement a bit confusing for a few reasons. Firstly, many people, including myself, prefer the taste of the white Alba truffle to any of the black truffles.

Secondly, and more importantly, I think many of the people who say they have had a black or white truffle have not had one, or at least a good one. The demand for these things far, far exceeds the supply. Even if you go to France or Italy the markets are full of both alternate mushrooms as well as imported truffles from Croatia (yes, Croatia is a big producer as well) which have lost their flavor.

The only way to be sure you are getting a fresh, authentic truffle - other than finding them yourself - is either to know someone in the business or to visit a well-known restaurant that serves them. In the Piedmont region of Italy, this is almost any non-touristy restaurant really.

The black truffle found in Périgord and Provence, and now Chuckey, Tennessee...

Eh. Truffles are found all over the world. Truffle hunting is a long tradition in the United States, and France, and Spain, and Italy and Portugal and Croatia and...

What a lame attempt at "Ooh look, the French aren't so exclusive anymore. Go USA!"
posted by vacapinta at 3:43 AM on December 1, 2009


in the United States, and France, and Spain, and Italy and Portugal and Croatia and...

Australia

posted by Wolof at 4:51 AM on December 1, 2009


Screwed the link ... Oz

Apologies.
posted by Wolof at 4:53 AM on December 1, 2009


IME the flavor and aroma of mushrooms is affected by more variables than wine, it may be easy to grow a particular species, but hard to get a specific flavor profile.

And honestly, I think for 90% of consumers that's completely irrelevant. I love stories like this like I love that story a few years back about the guys who made a machine that makes diamonds: fucking up a system of manufactured rarity. Those 90% I just mentioned are the people who care more about the idea that a black truffle is supposed to be delicious than actually debating if it is or not.

Food, to me, comes in third (behind the diamond trade and the fashion industry) in the pantheon of ridiculous overpriced industries fueled almost entirely by consumer willingness to be ignorant. I love Food Network and shows like Iron Chef but as soon as they start bragging about the rare Pacific salmon that only spawns on a full moon and costs seventy dollars an eyeball I just start to roll my eyes. There are people who care about being told food is "rare" and "expensive" and that convinces them it's fucking delicious. Don't get me wrong, I understand the science of cooking and respect the artistry of a trained chef. But food- food- isn't "rare" any more than diamonds are. It's just wasted and hoarded because enough people want it to be.

My point is, it really doesn't matter what the black truffles from Tennessee taste like. When those guys built their diamond machine, DeBeers went apeshit, demanding legislation that orders their diamonds to not be called "real" diamonds, despite having an identical atomic structure as mined diamonds. Culinary equivalents of the DeBeers corporation will make any petty justification they can to explain how a goddamn five hundred dollar mushroom can't be grown in a Tennessee man's backyard, because preserving the culture (no pun intended) is far more important than preserving taste.

So yes, go Tennessee dude. Blow all their minds. Everyone else enjoy watching "experts" scramble to devalue him because they said so.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:40 AM on December 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


"What a lame attempt at "Ooh look, the French aren't so exclusive anymore. Go USA!"

I think you have missed the point here vacapinta. Of course truffles (of wildly varying quality) are found all over the world. This article is about cultivated truffles, which until now have been an overwhelming failure in the US. From the Times article --

"The truffles from Chuckey are not the first American-grown Périgord truffles. They are, however, the first American grown black truffles to excite some of the country’s top chefs, like Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, John Fleer and Jonathan Waxman....

He resisted dreams of a truffle bonanza as assiduously as he limed his soil and trimmed his trees. Dr. Michaels had, after all, grown up on a mushroom farm west of Chicago and had written his thesis on the difficulty of the in-vitro cultivation and growth of T. melanosporum.

He knew that millions of dollars have been lost since the 1970s in the attempt to cultivate truffles in the United States. Some of the failures were spectacular. One multimillion dollar orchard in Hext, Tex., is now being managed as a game preserve.

When, on the morning of Jan. 3, he noticed patches of the tawny Tennessee soil bubbling up like blistered asphalt in his orchard, however, Dr. Michaels lost his circumspection. “I was jumping around yelling ‘Eureka!’ ” he said. And that was before he saw the size of the bulbs, before he felt them and smelled them and tasted them, before one of his truffles had found its way into the chef Daniel Boulud’s kitchen in Manhattan, before the chef had confirmed the grower’s suspicion.

“This is it,” Mr. Boulud said. “The first time in America. This Tennessee truffle is the real thing.”
posted by vronsky at 7:57 AM on December 1, 2009


I was off-base in describing my disappointing truffles as some other product ("white truffle"). Honestly, I don't really know the difference between white and black truffles. Whatever the case, I've gone to very fine restaurants in France and been served expensive dishes with fresh truffle and been really disappointed in the lack of flavour. Maybe they were poor imports, as vacapinta suggested.

I love a good rustic dish prepared from simple common ingredients. I also love a fine elegant dish prepared with uncommon ingredients. Unfortunately, truffles are too rare to enjoy easily, too expensive, and apparently subject to misdirection. The rarity itself doesn't appeal to me, so I'm all for someone figuring out how to make truffles more common. Then again it'd be sad if truffle became so common it was a cliché like arugula, raspberry reduction, or foam.
posted by Nelson at 8:34 AM on December 1, 2009


But food- food- isn't "rare" any more than diamonds are. It's just wasted and hoarded because enough people want it to be.

You have no idea what you're talking about. Most truly expensive (not like those chocolates that were posted here a couple years ago) food products are truly rare. As has been mentioned here, truffles are largely impossible to cultivate, and terroir does seem to play an important role in development of the flavour, and why certain truffles are prized above others. Looking at expensive food products for a moment--e.g. parmagiano reggiano, balsamico di modena--one notices a few qualities:

1) must be foraged, difficult to cultivate
2) must be aged
3) comes from a specific region
4) is made by a dwindling number of producers

You'll notice that all truly expensive foodstuffs have at least one, and usually more, of those qualities.

Everyone else enjoy watching "experts" scramble to devalue him because they said so.

To paraphrase one of my favourite authors: "It is customary, save perhaps on Metafilter, to have opinions preceded by knowledge." One of the greatest chefs on the planet says this guy has the real deal. But don't let facts get in the way of your sour grapes.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:27 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Futher to ErikaB, if you live in the woods in the northwest, red squirrels will find truffles and store them, buy the hundreds or thousands, in any nook or cranny they can find in your house. When you pull back the boards they all come rolling out like little pingpong balls...

I bet if you cut little holes in the right places, you could trick the squirrels into insulating your house for you... with truffles.
posted by klanawa at 9:44 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ergo, when the host tree is rotting, the morels do indeed appear.

That doesn't change my point. If morels appear when their host is stressed, you've got to have a living host in the first place. Morchella takes complex carbon from the living host in the form of different types of sugars, depending on the species. A pile of Fraxinus cellulose doesn't provide that. Replicating the chemical signals sent from a host tree to the mycorrhizae is not something that happens by filling a plastic bag with sterile substrate and inoculating it with Morchella. Hence the difficulty in controlled cultivation of specialist species like morels.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:14 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


dirtynumbangelboy -- You're right, I've never had one. But it just seems it's a bit overhyped, even if people like it for the taste. It's ludicrously expensive, and I don't really care how good something is, at that price point it's purely an exclusive "We have it and you don't" luxury.
posted by spiderskull at 11:03 AM on December 1, 2009


One of the greatest chefs on the planet says this guy has the real deal.

And the top diamond men at DeBeers can think a stone is the finest they ever saw. You truly didn't get my comment at all, did you?

Points for the passive-aggressive "you're stupid" finisher, though, but "sour grapes?" Really? Thinking I'm jealous of one's possession of edible fungus sort of gives away just who has the flawed sense of superiority here, champ. I've been told I'm also actually afraid of Sarah Palin too.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:22 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


...at that price point it's purely an exclusive "We have it and you don't" luxury.

Not necessarily. They are expensive because of demand but also a little goes a long way because of their strong flavor.

I've had truffles in Italy in the form of truffle shavings over pasta and whatnot. It adds a lot to the flavor and not as expensive if you think of it as a spice - like saffron.
posted by vacapinta at 11:30 AM on December 1, 2009


You're right, I've never had one. But it just seems it's a bit overhyped

Having never eaten truffle, how exactly can you know this?

at that price point it's purely an exclusive "We have it and you don't" luxury.


Except that it's largely not. Yes, of course, truffle foragers charge what the market will bear--such is capitalism. But I suggest reading the article and learning something about the fact that truffles are nearly impossible to cultivate, thus are rare, thus would be expensive anyway. Factor in the demand for something that tastes like sex feels, and yeah, it's gonna be spendy. Again: opinions should really be preceded by knowledge.

And the top diamond men at DeBeers can think a stone is the finest they ever saw. You truly didn't get my comment at all, did you?


Your comment was "Everyone else enjoy watching "experts" scramble to devalue him because they said so."

The reality is that a leading expert is valuing him and saying he's got it right. So... the reality is the opposite of your comment.

but "sour grapes?" Really? Thinking I'm jealous of one's possession of edible fungus sort of gives away just who has the flawed sense of superiority here, champ

No, it's sour grapes because you're waffling on and on about a subject you clearly know nothing about, and saying 'it can't be that good anyway.' That is the very definition of sour grapes. You may wish to re-read the fable.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:49 AM on December 1, 2009


Oh, and XQUZ, I never said you were stupid. I said you were ignorant. There's a difference; the latter is fixable. But only if you choose to educate yourself. Which it seems apparent you won't be doing. Oh well, so it goes.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:50 AM on December 1, 2009


it is treasured not so much for its taste or appearance but for its aroma, which has been likened to bedsheets after a night of abandon, slatterns who disdain to bathe, all that is dark and alluring about the human body and soul.
That's a very eloquent way of saying that your fungus smells like punani.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:12 PM on December 1, 2009


All this talk of truffles, I can smell them...

Time to hit up the fungi store at the ferry building.
posted by subaruwrx at 12:31 PM on December 1, 2009


While at the ferry building, get some truffle salt. Use it to salt your scrambled eggs in the morning, it will last a long time.

And XQUZ, truffles are like sex in more ways than you can know, your comments sound exactly like a 9 year old boy saying that all this kissing and touching thing is so overrated, when a bowl of sugar cereal and an Xbox is all one ever needs to be happy.
posted by dirty lies at 7:03 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be fair, all some people need is an Xbox to be happy. Different strokes, folks. Some people just don't need taste in their food.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:06 PM on December 1, 2009


And XQUZ, truffles are like sex in more ways than you can know, your comments sound exactly like a 9 year old boy saying that all this kissing and touching thing is so overrated, when a bowl of sugar cereal and an Xbox is all one ever needs to be happy.

I'm not trying to tell you how to be a parent or anything, but I hope when your 9-year-old is a little older you don't tell them that the best sex is the kind you pay a lot of money for.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:21 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


[rolls eyes]

Yes, yes. We get it. You don't like truffles. Any chance you could drop it now?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:47 PM on December 1, 2009


That's a very eloquent way of saying that your fungus smells like punani.

Which is better than saying your punani smells like fungus.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:48 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Looking at expensive food products for a moment--e.g. parmagiano reggiano, balsamico di modena--one notices a few qualities:

Those seem like bad examples to me. I would be utterly astonished if you could not make cheese completely indistinguishable from "authentic" parmagiano reggiano anywhere on Earth where cows can survive, and I can think of no earthly reason why you couldn't produce a product utterly identical to "authentic" balsamico anywhere on Earth.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:50 PM on December 1, 2009


I'm not trying to tell you how to be a parent or anything, but I hope when your 9-year-old is a little older you don't tell them that the best sex is the kind you pay a lot of money for.

Yes. Because paying money for food is just like prostitution.
posted by kersplunk at 1:52 AM on December 2, 2009


Yes, yes. We get it. You don't like truffles. Any chance you could drop it now?

fff, I dunno, I don't think he'd mentioned ever having any before.

He just isn't showing any evidence that he knows much about them. Ignorance versus distaste.
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:47 AM on December 2, 2009


Some people just don't need taste in their food.

I think that's going a bit far, don't you?

It's entirely possible for someone to not get the hype about truffles AND nevertheless still not be a complete cretin. I've never had truffled either -- which is why I've refrained from comment up to this point -- but there ARE plenty of other fine ingredients I HAVE had and DO use, so truffles aren't the One True Ring of the culinary world, is all, and implying that it is is a bit rich.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:18 AM on December 2, 2009


I will tell my son that the best sex is the one you find in the forest with the help of a pig.
posted by dirty lies at 12:40 PM on December 2, 2009


EmpressCallipygos, the difference is that you are not dissing on something you have not tried. Saying that truffles suck because they are expensive and because foodies (ARGHHH) wet their panties every time they smell one, sounds like saying that first class travel sucks because it is expensive and rich assholes do it all the time. I will take a free upgrade anytime.

Truffles may be the One True Ring of the culinary world, but even if the culinary world and all the truffle hype ceased to exist, they would still have an amazing and unique flavor.

Just to be clear, I do think truffles are overhyped and overpriced, that is why I cant wait for mycologists to come up with easier cultivation, so that truffles become as common as bacon and everyone can taste and judge by themselves.
posted by dirty lies at 12:46 PM on December 2, 2009


Saying that truffles suck because they are expensive and because foodies (ARGHHH) wet their panties every time they smell one, sounds like saying that first class travel sucks because it is expensive and rich assholes do it all the time.

I'm not saying that anyone said they suck, though -- only that it seems like part of the expense may be because of hype and snobbery and "oh look at me I am eating a TRUFFLE and that means I'm SPECIAL".

A much better defense of the price of truffles occurred upthread, when someone said "yeah, but a little goes a loooooooooooong way, so you're getting about a year's worth at once with one truffle." That makes sense. But to sneer that "you must not like taste in your food, then," kind of smacks of the very kind of snobbery that...the original poster was talking about.

In short -- I don't think they were saying TRUFFLES sucked, only truffle SNOBS did.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:52 PM on December 2, 2009


I don't think you are neccesarily wrong at all Nelson. White truffles are a completely different flavor profile. Fruitier, with hints of garlic. While delicious in their own way, they work to compliment different foods. But they lack the rich post coital intensity, the chthonic complexity, of a truly great black truffle.
posted by vronsky at 1:06 PM on December 2, 2009


Me: Um, actually fire has been quite easy to artificially replicate, at least for the last 50,000 years or so.

five fresh fish: Yes, but the authorities tend to get angry when you torch a forest. Which is what we're talking here, not using your butane torch to heat a sack of straw.

Ah, you've confused the word "easy" with the word "legal". I see the problem!

Actually, despite laws to the contrary, it is still rather easy to start forest fires, and people have been suspected of doing this just to reap a harvest.

Ergo, it is easy.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:07 AM on December 4, 2009


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