White truffle bonanza

Egg ravioli with white truffle

White truffle fans, rejoice. An excellent growing season with plenty of rain has created a bumper crop of white truffles in Italy's Tanaro river basin, home to the famous Alba variety of the truffle. Not only is the yield up, chefs say the quality is top notch too.

All this means the wholesale price is down about 30% over 2015. The lower prices means that even Brexit-affected UK residents can get more truffles for their money than last year, even after factoring in the drop in the British pound. Although you can find good deals, it still pays to beware of inferior specimens being passed off as the more expensive Alba truffles. "You need to know your dealer, like any sort of dealer, to be sure you get the right stuff," says Jacob Kenedy of Bocca di Lupo, a London restaurant.

White truffles have a shorter season and are more expensive than black Périgord truffles from France, and they are considered to be superior by many chefs. Not all chefs prefer white truffles, however. Chef John Williams at the Ritz in New York City is a black truffle aficionado. "I am a black tuber melanosporum man," he confesses. "I love the aroma and flavor of white truffle, but as a cook it doesn't turn me on in the same way."

Photo of Egg yolk ravioli with truffle and Parmesan from Great Italian Chefs by Daniele Usai  

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