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Truffles


scottreitz
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Pam the Butcher (Brookville)said that prices for them are outta sight. She said that they're more than double what they were last year: What was $69 an oz is this year $179. She seems to think that it's because of the Beluga scare, that everyone turning to Truffles. True?

One of her sources for them is not a store, but this woman, Patti Ravenscroft, who leads food trips, one of which just came back from France, collecting truffles.

I have her number if you want it. She apparently is a font of information. I think she sells them or knows of other good suppliers aside from stores.

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I would really love to get my hands/slicer on 1-2 oz of truffles for Christmas Dinner. Anyone have a hint where to check? I will start with Balducci's and try Dean & DeLuca. I am afraid I'm too late for Urbani. Waitman has promised me some funky yuminess if I can score the goods.

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:D --><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mrs. B @ Dec 20 2006, 10:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I would really love to get my hands/slicer on 1-2 oz of truffles for Christmas Dinner. Anyone have a hint where to check? I will start with Balducci's and try Dean & DeLuca. I am afraid I'm too late for Urbani. Waitman has promised me some funky yuminess if I can score the goods.

Try Wegman's. Although brace yourself......last time I was there they were selling black truffles for $400 / pound. :P

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:D --><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mrs. B @ Dec 20 2006, 10:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I would really love to get my hands/slicer on 1-2 oz of truffles for Christmas Dinner. Anyone have a hint where to check? I will start with Balducci's and try Dean & DeLuca. I am afraid I'm too late for Urbani. Waitman has promised me some funky yuminess if I can score the goods.

Try Wegman's. Although brace yourself......last time I was there they were selling black truffles for $400 / pound. :P

That's a bargain. Today's price is more than twice that.

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:D --><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mrs. B @ Dec 20 2006, 10:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I would really love to get my hands/slicer on 1-2 oz of truffles for Christmas Dinner. Anyone have a hint where to check? I will start with Balducci's and try Dean & DeLuca. I am afraid I'm too late for Urbani. Waitman has promised me some funky yuminess if I can score the goods.

Try Wegman's. Although brace yourself......last time I was there they were selling black truffles for $400 / pound. :P

I am not sure that I would trust buying them from Wegman's. I would want to know how long they have had them as the times that I have seen them there they looked pretty dried out.

Somewhat related, but I am planning on heading there tomorrow morning so I can check availability and quality if you want.

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QUOTE(Mrs. B @ Dec 20 2006, 10:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I would really love to get my hands/slicer on 1-2 oz of truffles for Christmas Dinner. Anyone have a hint where to check? I will start with Balducci's and try Dean & DeLuca. I am afraid I'm too late for Urbani. Waitman has promised me some funky yuminess if I can score the goods.

Try Wegman's. Although brace yourself......last time I was there they were selling black truffles for $400 / pound. :P

My guess is that this is for summer blacks at best. Still, since our wholesale on summer blacks is about $25 an ounce, that is a bargain if they are good.

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Just returned from Spring Valley Balducci's. Truffles may be ordered with 72 hours notice. White from the Piedmont - 2888/lb and Black from Mt. Ventoux - 1250/lb. Contact Gloria the cheese dept. mgr. Now I don't know which to order. Waitman feels that the white's we've purchased and served at home are not worth the uptick in price. I am still having naughty thoughts about the whites we had on the pizza at CityZen last month. Think I will go with black and maybe donate the difference to Second Harvest of Central Kitchen so I don't feel so guilty.

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:D --><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mrs. B @ Dec 20 2006, 10:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I would really love to get my hands/slicer on 1-2 oz of truffles for Christmas Dinner. Anyone have a hint where to check? I will start with Balducci's and try Dean & DeLuca. I am afraid I'm too late for Urbani. Waitman has promised me some funky yuminess if I can score the goods.

Try Wegman's. Although brace yourself......last time I was there they were selling black truffles for $400 / pound. :P

I bought a black truffle from the Sterling Wegmann's when they opened. The produce lady had to get a key to open the box and she took out the one I wanted. Took it home, put it straight into a storage container full of Arborio rice and put into the fridge. The next day, opened the container, pulled out the truffle, and it was all slimy and nasty on one side, and couldn't bring myself to try the rest of it, due to finicky fear of food poisoning.

My one and only experience with truffles.

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:P --><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mrs. B @ Dec 21 2006, 12:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Just returned from Spring Valley Balducci's.Please excuse my inner geography Nazi, but there is no Balducci's in Spring Valley. Wagshal's is in Spring Valley. Balducci's is up the hill in Wesley Heights.
You geography nazi have nothing to add to my truffle desire but to correct my DC geography problem? I stand corrected but think that Wesley Heights is ...oh never mind must think food not real estate. Procured a beautiful 4 rib dry aged hunk or rib eye for the holiday.
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Summer blacks. Feh. The lite beer of truffles.

Here here. Black truffles this year weren't that great until late last month. $25 wholesale isn't bad for Burgundies (blacks) but awfully high for summer truffles considering they've not developed any fragrance at that time. The price for the same winter truffle skyrockets the week prior to Christmas all b/c of demand and marketing. (Yay, marketing! :P ) And honestly, $1250/lb for black truffles is a freaking joke. How much profit do they want to make anyways?

I would say the black truffles pictured on the post along the bottom row are about two ounce size. A one ounce truffle is the size of a small walnut.

As for the white truffle that "tasted like cardboard" that most likely did *not* come from Italy - I would say Croatia, especially if that truffle was unnaturally white and clean looking.

That Wegman's truffle was probably on its last leg when it was purchased; truffles last about shy of a week if they were bought fresh and properly kept. Try not to store them with too much rice as the truffles need a wee bit of moisture. The best way to store them is loosely wrapped in a paper towel and in a glass bowl with a glass lid.

I would try to go the restaurant route, if you have connections. You'll be able to get the better quality and hopefully a better price. Good luck!

(Sorry for the somewhat rambling post, just wanted to address several points at once.)

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Thanks, hillvalley, you're too kind! Truth be told, I gained my knowledge via blood, sweat and tears. Literally.

Also, size is not an indicator of quality. It looks great to shave (or as P. Diddy said to the waiter at Daniel in NYC, "Shave that b****!". For shizzle.) tablesize but sometimes the smaller tennis ball or golf ball sized white truffles are more pungent.

If you do choose to purchase a black truffle, make sure that it doesn't have any holes or cracks, that it's not too dry, and that they're very dark and when you press it, it's not rock hard. Of course when buying either type of truffle, you should be able to smell it before you crack open the container. Hell, at the height of the season, if you sell truffles, you walk away smelling like them at the end of the day!

And definitely don't buy it at a grocery store where it's been sitting under lights in a warm case with way too much rice. That probably contributed to the rotting truffle from Wegman's as well. (By the way, the retail level gets the "second" grade of truffles. Restaurants, especially the high end ones, get first pickin' of the best of the litter.)

*edited for grammar and other whatnots

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A very polite and enthusiastic lady named Gloria, who hangs out behind the cheese counter at the Spring Valley/Wesley Heights/AU Park/Forrest Hills Balducci's, special ordered about 2.5 ounces of black truffles at $80/oz for us, just before Christmas. The two truffles were about the size of a golf ball, a little gnarlier than the ones that the chefs probably get but clean, fragrant enough to gross out the kids and quite tasty.

The first night, we scored some pizza dough at Vace (ours would have been better, but time did not permit) and and some fontina from Gloria and made a couple white pizzas, each perfectly sized to support two eggs fried sunny side up and generous shaving of the truffles, and four of us snarfed up the resulting gooey mess (based on a CityZen app) with a great deal of enthusiasm.

For Christmas day we chopped up about another three-quarters of an ounce and devoted that to Boudin Blanc de Noel, from what should be the most annoying cookbook ever, but isn't, Madeleine Kamman's When French Women Cook.* We lost a small bit of the truffle to some sort of truffle rot -- possibly hastened by storing the truffles at room temperature -- but had plenty to serve six people with some excellent leftovers. Basically, you grind chicken breast, finely diced mushrooms, butter, cream and truffles together and then stuff them in whatever casings you have lying around, poach the resulting links and then gently fry them for serving. Next time we may try to find a way to wedge some duck liver in with the fungus, chicken and dairy products, and maybe our take on whatever it is Weidermayer serves his boudin with, but the boudin stand up pretty well on their own.

I just checked, and there's still enough truffle left for a very serious dinner for two tonight, perhaps we'll just scramble up a couple of the eggs it's resting in in the slow French fashion (over boiling water) that always seems a little ridiculous to me unless there are truffles involved.

*I generally have a low tolerance for cookbooks that talk too much, whether it's Bourdain's silly swaggering in the Les Halles Cookbook; Ruhlman-penned paeons to rabbit killing and upright fish in The French Laundry Cookbook or Judy Roger's repeated flashbacks to her years with the Troisgros clan in Zuni. I mean, just shut up and cook. By this measure, When French Women Cook should be the worst offender of all. The premise of the book is that it shares reciped learned at the feet of a series of women with whom Kamman lived as a girl and young woman in France, each from a different region: Mimi in Savoie, Claire in Tourain and so on. Thus each chapter starts with a little story about the women and their impossibly picturesque hearths, tales of mushroom-gathering and cheese-making and so on, and is followed up by a series of regional recipes. Somehow Kamman -- whom one suspects takes no prisoners and is fun to drink with -- spins these tales without using eye-rolling levels of treacle. The recipes are excellent, while also serving as a basic primer on the differences of French regional cooking. And, if you like a little backstory with your cookbook, it may be perfect.

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I open my May issue of Gourmet and find an article that purports there are truffles to be found in the Saudi desert. Some white, some dark. A parenthesis explains that this "truffle" is biologically liitle different from " its Wester cousin, though a Saudi agronomist... says the electrical charges [from] lightnening storms...make the truffles lighter in taste." In Arabic they are called fagaa and are highly prized. Anyone know if they compare to a Perigord, or are ever exported? I can't believe that this fungus from the desert has anything remotely in common with the one found nestled near an oak tree in SE France.

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Whatever you do, don't buy black truffles at Dean & Deluca in Georgetown. They're trying to pass off old summer truffles as winter black truffles... AND, they won't refund your money when you take home the truffles, slice one, find a light-colored inside, and then call them on it. I just spoke to someone at D&D HQ who said this is not the first time they've gotten this complaint about this store.

Guess it's back to Urbani for me...

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Arrowine is currently advertising white truffles at $279/oz., black truffles at $69.99/oz., and Burgundy truffles at $49.99/oz. (all range from 0.75 to 1.5 oz.). Order by 5 pm Tuesday for Thursday delivery. I haven't ordered any, so can't vouch for the quality.

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I have purchased form Arrow in the past and would recommned it. On another note I do not like the way Wegman's handles them.

I "heard" this year's harvest is not up to standard from previous years, and the "best" are being kept in Europe this year. Unsubstantiated, but would like to pass this along.

I hope I do not deter you from buying.

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Well, now that we've solved the caul fat shortage (thanks, thanguch) I wonder if anyone has any leads on black Perigord or Provencal truffles -- the mighty melanosporum. I can't afford white truffles and I'd like to go a step above summer truffles, Burgundy truffles, Oregon truffles and the like. Fresh, of course, is the key and I think I'm aiming to get an ounce or two as close to Christmas Day as possible.

I saw a bunch at Dean and DeLuca the other day, but I am concerned about freshness.

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We bought black truffles that were Fedexed in on Tuesday. The scent is permeating my kitchen. I keep going to the refrigerator and opening the door just so that it will wash over me. These might be the best I've ever laid my hands on.

We had truffled scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning; dinner will be wild mushroom soup with truffles, onglet with truffled demi-glace, potato gratin with truffles, and salad. I might shave a little over some ice cream for dessert. :P

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I went truffle hunting in Tuscany recently - what a lot of fun. The truffle dog goes crazy with the scent. We got to the forest just after a family of porcupines had been through there, rooting around, but we found some nice black truffles. Now I get my fresh truffles by special order from Piazza Italian Market in Easton, MD.

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Not summer truffles, Oregon truffles, Burgundy truffles, canned truffles or chocolate truffles. Fresh, from Northern Italy or Southern France (I think French black truffles deliver the best bang for the buck but I realize that this marks me as a cretin in some circles).

Anyway, any trusted sources offering them in the DC area?

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Not summer truffles, Oregon truffles, Burgundy truffles, canned truffles or chocolate truffles. Fresh, from Northern Italy or Southern France (I think French black truffles deliver the best bang for the buck but I realize that this marks me as a cretin in some circles).

Anyway, any trusted sources offering them in the DC area?

I bought one from the few they had left at Griffin Market in Georgetown one day a few weeks ago. Apparently Jose Andres had raided the supply the night before. It was good. As far as trust goes, I suppose I took it on faith that it was what he told me it was.

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I've also seen them in Dean and Delucre, mounted in Arborio like an uncut diamond on a bed of pearls. I don't know--I hate spending money in that place even for something that would be expensive anywhere.

My worry with D&D is not price -- I think they're in line with other outlets -- so much as the thought that they've been sitting there for two weeks, losing funk.

(Speaking of which, I was extremely disappointed to learn, after I demanded that Stephanie spend her hard earned cash for a pair of prized ducats, that the opening act at the 9:30 Club New years Eve was not "Truffle Funk," but some lame go-go band.)

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My worry with D&D is not price -- I think they're in line with other outlets -- so much as the thought that they've been sitting there for two weeks, losing funk.

Agreed. Or they've absorbed other funks, like smoked salmon, olives, and prosciutto. If the grandes dames of Georgetown simply did their part and assured a high turnover, we wouldn't need to worry about this, but I guess those days are long gone.

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Agreed. Or they've absorbed other funks, like smoked salmon, olives, and prosciutto. If the grandes dames of Georgetown simply did their part and assured a high turnover, we wouldn't need to worry about this, but I guess those days are long gone.

Damn dames.

(nice -- putting the adjective in the appropriate plural form. No riff-raff you!) :)

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Be careful when you buy from D&D. I splurged a couple of weeks ago and thankfully my husband was with me. I hadn't noticed that the counter server hadn't set the tare weight on the scale to account for the three sheets of paper that he was weighing with the truffle. When my husband asked him to pick up the truffle and weigh the paper, turns out we would have paid $44 for the paper! Wonder how many people they have caught this way!

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4 hours ago, dcs said:

Has a Start-Up Found the Secret to Farming the Elusive Truffle?  By Jim Robbins, NOV. 24, 2016, on nytimes.com.

The one thing missing from this article was an opinion by a reliable source rgarding the actual merits of the truffles being produced.  I have tried summer truffles, burgundy truffles and a couple other discount varieties and have never found them remotely comparable to good Perigord or Italian white truffles.  Lame truffles are lame truffles and (IMHO) not worth the effort no matter how much cheaper they are than than the good stuff from France and Italy.

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