|Oregon White Truffles are available Now through the middle of January, 2007 at trufflezone.com. 12/05/06|
Dismal showing from the Oregon Black Truffles this year. Anyone need any nice Oregon White Truffles?
I have received new information about the truffles that I have been collecting. This information comes from Dan Wheeler, a past president of the North American Truffles Society (NATS) and current president of the Oregon Mycological Society.
The truffles that I have been collecting and marketing for the past several years are not exactly what I believed them to be. I was not given any specific genus and species for any of the truffles by the commercial buyers to whom I sold the truffles that I collected. They just called certain (yummy) ones Oregon White Truffles and other (equally yummy but different) ones Oregon Black Truffles. I searched for information through the many books on mushrooms that I own and came up with the information that I wrote up in my 1995-1996 season report.
Upon seeing my WebPages for the first time, Dan Wheeler wrote me with better information. It would seem that the truffles marketed as Oregon White Truffles are actually several species of the genus Tuber (I believe that I have three different species upon macroscopic examination). There may be as many as seven different Picoa species in Oregon (I have seen two that I feel were macroscopically distinguishable as different). Picoa carthusiana, THE Oregon Black Truffle, has been renamed as Leucangium carthusiana.
I have been informed that Tuber gibbosum is a white truffle that is harvested from May to June (I will be searching for these this year!!!). This would fit in with Arora's description of the T. gibbosum as occurring in California in May-June (he confused the winter Oregon White Truffles with T. gibbosum when he said that it was harvested earlier in Oregon- so at least I am in good company:-).
I have been told that the truffles of Europe actually belong to more than one genus and are of several species in each genus. They are marketed as White Truffles and Black Truffles. It is fine to call the members of the genus Tuber that are found here in Oregon "Oregon White Truffles" but not to identify them as T. gibbosum unless they are T. gibbosum. It is fine to call Leucangium carthusiana and the members of the genus Picoa that are found here in Oregon "Oregon Black Truffles" but not to identify them as Leucangium carthusiana unless it has been proven that the specimens in question that are being marketed have been positively identified as L. carthusiana.
The Picoa carthusiana, the Oregon Black Truffle, is very pungent and plentiful this year as well. They are found in Europe and are not considered "true" truffles there. The Europeans call them "summer" truffles and ban import to protect their truffle market. Although they are not as aromatic as the European truffles, they are stronger in flavor than the Oregon White Truffles.
How to find mushrooms and truffles!!!!
Omelets are great with a few Oregon White Truffles added at just the last minute!!!! (You've got to break a few truffles to get an omelet;-)
I also enjoy grated or chopped Oregon White Truffles on salads or pasta with a little bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a light herbal vinegar and oil dressing. This complements the flavor of the Truffles and the result is heavenly.
Take two or three golf ball sized Oregon Black Truffles and put them in with risotto (or anything else that would taste good with truffles) for two to three days and the result is truffle flavored rice.
Try chopping frozen truffles and adding to gravy just before stirring in the roux.
Take several (adjust to taste) truffles and place between the skin and the meat of poultry before roasting.
If you enjoy the taste of truffles, store them with fresh eggs in the refrigerator until ready for use.
Black truffles, Tuber melanosporum, come from the Quercy and Perigord regions of France and the Umbria region of Italy. They are called Black Diamonds in France. They are used many dishes especially in pate de foie gras (fatted goose or duck liver).
White truffles, Tuber magnatum, are from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. They are generally stronger than the black truffles and taste "garlicky."
Except for attempts to cultivate them, the European truffles are not found in North America.
Asian look-alikes to the Tuber melanosporum began showing up about in world markets about
2 years ago. These Chinese Black Truffles, Tuber himalayensis, appear to be the same as T. melanosporum unless the spores are examined microscopically. While these look the same, they do not have the same flavor. According to various reports (including some on the net- see FUNGUS and Botanical Electronic News #98) some unscrupulous mushroom dealers have been dousing the T. himalayensis with T. melanosporum flavored oil or putting one or two T. melanosporum in with a basket of T. himalayensis to obtain the high prices commanded by the rare Black Diamonds.
It is my opinion that people should be able to buy what they want, but should get products as they are represented to them.
Truffles keep fresh longer when they are unwashed and refrigerated.
They should be eaten before they get too soft and any appearing oily
should be used immediately.
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This page was updated on November 12, 1998.