Thursday, August 9, 2012

Truffles American Style

Truffles have always been a European treat.Legendary here and the dream of may gourmets and foodies alike , this fungi was imported at exorbitant prices. However that's all changing. It's now being cultivated in North America- with hopefully lower prices.

Dining section newcomer, Nick Czap explored this new territory on the American eating scene in yesterday's New York Times. He found that truffles are not only being grown in Italy's Piemonte  but now in Oregon.The state is home to four kinds of the delicious fungi: the Oregon black truffle, the Oregon winter white, the Oregon spring white and the rare Oregon brown truffle. The black truffle variety emits an aroma of pineapple and dark chocolate combined, while the white and brown have a more pungent smell , a mix of sulphur and ripe cheeses. While Europeans have been hunting truffles for centuries, Oregon's quest is relatively new starting with the great chef ,James Beard , promoting it, as late as 1977

There is also a unique difference between American and Italian harvesting techniques. Truffles have long been sniffed and snuffled out by dogs and pigs.(Italian law mandates that only dogs can now sniff out the mushroom). The US uses search  rescue dogs, from papillons to Labs along with Newfoundlands and Beaucerons to  to find the delicacy. Any canine can be trained to be a truffle dog. He or she just has to withstand the conditions which are sometimes cold and always damp.

Truffles have always been the domain of European gourmets. yet that is changing. With more foodies discovering the Oregon genuses, there will be more need for the home grown variety. It also means more American born dogs will turn into truffle hounds too - a good thing for truffle lovers.

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