Friday, June 27, 2008

Black Truffles

One of our Servers recently returned from a vacation to Central Italy. While there he visited his family’s farm and went truffle hunting and returned with several prized specimens of Spring truffles.

[Gordon Naccarato holding two truffles. One whole, the other cut into...]

The area in Central Italy known for black truffles is Umbria, and more specifically these truffles came from the town of Gualdo Cattaneo .

The truffles are usually found beneath oak and hazelnut trees.

I am told the mixing of this variety of trees helps promote a certain humus that is conducive to raising truffles. He finds them with the help of a dog that has been specifically trained to hunt truffles.

The Spring Truffle in Italy is called “Scorsone”. They sell for €250-350 [Euros] per kilo. In Winter they go for €650-1100!

These Spring truffles are black with a tan interior. The exterior resembles a black truffle while the interior looks like a white truffle. The flavor is less pronounced than the true black [“Norcia which is the name of the Italian town from which this truffle comes] or the white truffle from Alba, and is also much more economical than either of these two.

These are some of the largest truffles I have ever seen. Each one weighed over a pound!
We recently featured the Spring truffles in a savory Mushroom Barley Soup with locally foraged wild morels, and a thin rustic parmesan crouton.

"Crudo" of ahi tuna with black truffles & reggiano

We have recently been serving these truffles-- shaving them over our “Crudo”: raw ahi tuna garnished with extra-virgin olive oil, shaved reggiano, lemon, Italian parsley, cracked pepper & sea salt. When I first created this dish at Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica, in the early 80’s it was described by the Los Angeles Times as “the earth meets the sea” for the dusky earthiness the truffle provides as played against the pristine sea quality of the sashimi.


ixia said...

Oh tartufi! I tartufi!
The word alone makes me droole.
Nothing like a bit of truffle grated over fresh butter pasta

Anonymous said...

Man, I've been reading about black truffles for over a week now.

Bobby said...

I love truffles. You appear to have a pair of excellent Italian Summer Truffles. Spring Truffle actually relates to Italy's white spring truffle, or "bianchetto" truffle.

I found a website that is actually selling domestically grown Perigord truffle, in which it is fresher than imported vendors, for it is days fresher.

Check it out-