On Chasing Truffles

Where to go or how to cook those stinky little gems


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Not in Piedmont
I don’t eat in Pizza in Piedmont, or rather I haven’t had a second pizza in Piedmont. Pizza, unfortunately is my favorite food. As such I tend to investigate the matter at hand perhaps more thoroughly than most. It’s also not on the allowed list of my menu, though that only sometimes stops me from eating a little pasta while in Italy. No, Piedmont has not seemed to be pizza territory and only waste my time on the best pizza. Instead it’s time to start investigating the big guns. the folks who can turn truffles into art, and parking lots into supercar campgrounds.
The two top restaurants in the Langhe seem to be Ristorante Bovio , with it’s fabulous terrace view and La Ciau del Tornavento. La Ciau is serious dining, and while it is at the highest level in Piemonte, it requires something of the diner. Some thought and attention. If you’re not willing to pay attention I don’t know that you’ll get your monies worth from some of the most interpretive cuisine in the region. On the other hand Bovio is more about the classics expertly prepared. And there’s that view. 

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  • You are right on regarding the restaurants...but Gemma would have truffles if you called ahead and asked for them...a corner of the world that is still a secret!!!

    Oct 07, 2013 at 2:59 PM

  • You insinuate that a decent olive oil is a bad thing....I cannot tolerate insufferable food snobs such as yourself, Mr. Dal Piaz..

    Oct 07, 2013 at 3:53 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
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    I insinuate no such thing, Truffle oil, and not olive oil is what I'm talking about. Calling me a food snob without knowing me does you no favors.

    Gemma is a great place, and not one for food snobs I might add!

    Oct 07, 2013 at 3:59 PM

  • Snooth User: Anna Savino
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    I agree with Greg about the truffle oil. The locals here in piemonte say that it is impossible to preserve the truffles for a more than a month or two in the oil, meaning that what you are getting is just cancerous chemical oil.

    I just tried Ciau del Tornavento on Friday and being a vegetarian paid off because I got porcinis and truffles for every dish! Don't forget to mention their unbelievable wine cellar with more than 60,000 bottles of wine and a huge safe!

    Bercau continues to be a favorite of mine too and the owner is a mushroom fanatic!

    Oct 08, 2013 at 3:10 AM

  • Snooth User: loratora
    598383 18

    Although the previous poster misunderstood your meaning, it has been quite fashionable of late for chefs and food experts to malign truffle oil. For those of us who love to cook and love the taste of truffles but cannot afford their price, judicious use of the oil is an acceptable alternative. Restaurateurs who went overboard adding truffle oil to almost everything added to the problem. Once the oil is infused with the truffle essence it isn't necessary to preserve them in it and calling it "cancerous" is a little silly.

    Oct 08, 2013 at 10:45 AM

  • Snooth User: Anna Savino
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    forgive me if I offended you but I am just relaying what the italians have told me here. Speaking of truffles though, I think I am going to take Greg up on the risotto tonight! Found 4 white truffles on Sunday. @Loratora come visit me here and I will find them together with you to eat them fresh!:)

    Oct 08, 2013 at 12:40 PM

  • Snooth User: Suylin82
    347984 36

    Thank for all the info, I fell in love with truffle about 5 years ago so any restaurant I go to that has truffle, That's most likely the dish I'm ordering. I also didn't realized that truffle oil isn't all that great as far as preserving the truffle itself. I'd like to research that topic. Thanks Greg!

    Oct 08, 2013 at 12:56 PM

  • I'm from Alba and have many family members who are White Truffle hunters and I totally agree with the mentors..... Anna I'll see you in November, when I'll be in Piemonte, lol...enjoy

    Oct 10, 2013 at 11:29 AM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
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    In November I'll be in Trentino and the Veneto. Tougher to find good truffles there!

    Oct 10, 2013 at 11:53 AM

  • Good comments and recommendations, but wish you would also address use of truffles
    in the Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano as I will be visiting there in November. Surely Brunellos also pair with truffles dishes.

    Oct 11, 2013 at 4:06 PM

  • Snooth User: loratora
    598383 18

    Anna, rest assured that you didn't offend me. I wished only to represent some of us ordinary folk who don't have the luxury of being able to find white truffles on a given Sunday! And while I'm at it, please pity us here in the states for being deprived of ready access to fresh porcinis. I can only wonder what the purists have to say about using dried. As for your kind invitation - be forewarned! If I'm lucky enough to return to Italy before I'm too old to navigate, I'll certainly take you up on it.

    Oct 19, 2013 at 12:02 PM

  • Snooth User: napagirl68
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    Anna and GdP, I am aware of the truffle oil controversy, and it was my understanding that white truffle oil was the one that had to exclusively use the chemicals for the essence. I buy a certain black truffle oil that states:
    "This late fall, early winter truffle is used in the making of this savory oil. A "tea method" is utilized which steeps the ripe truffles for extended periods of time in olive oil. The closely guarded, proprietary process yields our heady, complex Black Truffle oil. No extracts or chemicals are used in its production."

    Am I being lied to? I like this oil, but I don't want to ingest chemicals that give a truffle taste.

    Nov 03, 2013 at 12:13 AM

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