My search for authentic truffle recipes, not found on the Internet nor in cookbooks, brings me to some inspiring places. Here, in the heartland of truffle culture, in the Central Apennines, I knew I would find something special because this is the only place where truffles can be eaten fresh all year round.
If you use a truffle sauce at home you are using chemicals called dimethylsulfide and or bismetiltometano which are petrol chemical based and designed to replicate the smell and taste of truffles. Unfortunately this also happens with almost all truffle oils, or if one eats in a restaurant hoping to economize.
How many couples are so perfectly matched? Indeed, is a Barolo from Northern Italy really the best partner? Possibly, but which one? There are different "schools" of approach for the Barolo; one is traditionalist, and the other responding to changes in palate is more contemporary, but either way they are expensive and for a novice like myself it seems to present too much margin for error.
Climate warming means countries that never cultivated truffles now have the appropriate climate conditions. For example, the North American truffle, the Oregon White, which was originally discovered in California in the 1890s, is now being farmed in southern B.C. The new cultivating countries have a new approach to truffle production. This sound good, but is it? And who monitors what you are eating?
Italy is lucky to have wild truffles all year round. With impatience I've been awaiting the spring truffle or the Tuber aestivum, which grows here in the Sibillini Mountains of Central Italy. These truffles grow closer to the surface than the more expensive black or white truffle that are both harvested in the autumn and into the New Year.
Find a truffle and it's like finding money buried in the ground. Depending on quality, white truffles the size of a walnut to a grapefruit sell for about $200 per ounce. The dealer has disappeared. Deals are consummated outside, around the corner, out of view. I did not see either truffle or euro change hands.