A brief round up of Truffle News & Stories …
Chef Roger Jones is one of the few lucky people to be allowed to do his own foraging at the secret truffle site in Wiltshire. He spent half an hour there yesterday morning – and took a kilo of summer truffles back to his restaurant, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, near Marlborough.” http://www.theharrowatlittlebedwyn.co.uk/html/english_truffles.html
Burger King’s $200 Burger
by Rigel Celeste (RSS feed) Jun 19th 2008 at 6:01PM
Of all the restaurants that might offer a $200 truffle-laden burger on their menu Burger King is probably one of the last ones, if not the last one, that comes to mind. But believe it or not Burger King has launched a $200 hamburger called simply “The Burger” that features Wagyu beef, white truffles, Pata Negra ham slices, Cristal onion straws, Modena balsamic vinegar, lambs lettuce, pink Himalayan rock salt, organic white wine, and shallot-infused mayonnaise all served up on an Iranian saffron and white truffle dusted bun.That’s quite a list of ingredients.
“The Burger” will be on sale once per week in London and proceeds go to benefit the Help a London Child charity. http://www.luxist.com/2008/06/19/burger-kings-200-burger/
A Hong Kong property tycoon and his wife have reportedly paid $160,406 for a huge Italian white truffle in 2006, which may be the world’s most expensive ever. Gordon Wu and his wife outbid connoisseurs from France and Italy to win the 3.3 pounds Alba white truffle from an international auction, a spokeswoman for the Ritz-Carlton hotel, which hosted the Hong Kong part of the auction, said.
It was the second time Hong Kong bidders won a pricey fungus at the annual auction, held in Grizane, Italy and satellite-linked with Paris and Hong Kong. In 2005, a group of bidders in Hong Kong paid 95,000 euros for a 2.7-pound truffle, a purchase later named by Guinness World Records as the most valuable truffle bought at an auction. White truffles, known for their extravagant price tag and strong, garlic-like scent, grow underground with tree roots. They’re eaten uncooked or shaved into pasta, salad, omelets and other dishes.http://www.luxuo.com/most-expensive/truffle.html
Michel Rostang’s $122 Truffle Sandwich (Yes, Truffles)
It seems whenever there’s some kind of exorbitantly expensive food there’s an ingredient that almost always makes an appearance: truffles. This sandwich, called LE “SANDWICH” TIEDE A LA TRUFFE FRAÎCHE, and created by French chef Michel Rostang, is no exception. It will appeal to purists mostly as it is amazingly simple: fresh truffles are sliced and placed on toasted country bread with salted butter. The sandwich sits for two nights (so the flavors can marinate together) and then the whole thing is lightly grilled on both sides. That’s it. Heck, if you have some spare truffles lying around you can make this at home instead of a grilled cheese or something. Or maybe not. 98 €
There’s a $5,000 Burger in Las Vegas
by Rigel Celeste (RSS feed) May 14th 2008 at 2:02PM
The Fleur de Lys restaurant in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay may serve French cuisine but that hasn’t stopped them from adapting their own version of an American classic: the hamburger. Called the “Fleurburger 5000″ it’s no Plain Jane either, featuring a juicy Kobe beef patty topped with a rich truffle sauce and served on a brioche truffle bun. And this burger comes with its own beverage, a bottle of 1990 Chateau Petrus, that is served in Ichendorf Brunello stemware that you get to keep.
It sounds (and looks) delicious — as well it should for the whopping price tag of $5000. And if you do decide to indulge no worries about bragging rights: you can bring a friend (they get a free burger when you order yours) and you’ll also get a certificate in the mail (along with your keepsake glass) so you’ll have both a witness and paper proof.http://www.luxist.com/2008/05/14/theres-a-5-000-burger-in-las-vegas/
Stanley Ho Beats Damien Hirst in Record $330,000 Truffle Sale
By Richard Vines/Bloomberg News
Dec. 2, 2007 (Bloomberg) — Macau billionaire Stanley Ho paid a record $330,000 for a white truffle at a charity auction. The 3.3 pounds tuber magnatum pico was found on Nov. 23 near Pisa by Cristiano and Luciano Savini, who donated it to the International Tuscan Truffle Auction. The event, in its fifth year, was held simultaneously yesterday in London, Florence and Macau. ”It was very, very exciting,” said Giorgio Locatelli, the Italian chef who hosted the London end of the auction. “I was bidding on behalf of Damien Hirst, who was on the phone. He’d planned to come, but you never know with him. On my birthday, I offered him a table at my restaurant but he showed up at my house instead.”
The auction raised a total of $453,000, with the proceeds going to different charities in each country: The Consortium for Street Children in the U.K.; the Telethon in Italy and Caritas in China. The association aims to promote and protect the Tuscan truffle and to support the hunters who unearth them with dogs.
“Please tell everyone, I am very happy,” organizer Giselle Oberti of the association said in a telephone interview from Florence, where she said she bid on behalf of the sheik at Palazzo Medici Ricciardi. In Macau, the event was conducted at the Italian restaurant in Ho’s Grand Lisboa hotel. Ho owns the casino operator Sociedade de Jogos de Macau SA, which is planning a share sale.
In London, the auction took place at Refettorio restaurant, where a four-course lunch included risotto with white truffle and white-truffle ice cream. Among the almost 100 who attended was the millionaire media entrepreneur and broadcaster Chris Evans. ”I’m very good friends with Giorgio, so I came along to support him,” Evans said in an interview after the auction. “Giorgio supports us every year when we raise money for Children in Need. We made 250,000 pounds ($514,000) at a dinner this year. That would be enough for some white truffles.”
The three-way auction was conducted in English and Italian. It included 13 other lots and was noisy at times as excited commentators competed to describe the action. In London, Piers Davies of Christie’s International was in charge as Locatelli ran around the room with truffles, trying to tempt potential bidders. ”I had to bid,” said Paola Gupta, who paid 6,000 pounds for a 370 gram truffle found in San Miniato. “I am Italian. Truffle is Italian culture and we have to keep it.” The auction was sponsored by the region of Tuscany, along with the Province of Florence, the Province of Arezzo, and the Union of Regional Associations of Tuscan Truffle Hunters.
Truffles facts: Ten facts about truffles.
By Sarah Knapton
08 Oct 2008
Truffles produce a chemical almost identical to a sex pheromone found in male pig’s saliva
1.Truffles grow in harmony with a host tree, enabling the tree to take in phosphorus while in return the truffle receives sugars enabling it to grow.
2. The ancient Greeks thought truffles were made when lightning hit damp soil
3. Truffles are mushrooms which are believed to have started growing underground to beat forest fires, drought and severe cold
4. Italians consider the white truffle (tuber magnatum) to be superior in taste to the black truffle (tuber melonosporum)
5. Pigs, trained dogs and goats are used to sniff out truffles which produce a chemical almost identical to a sex pheromone found in male pig’s saliva. Men secrete the same chemical in their underarm sweat
6. The truffle has been described variously as a diamond of cookery, fairy apple, black queen, gem of poor lands, fragrant nugget and the black pearl.
7. The Collins family of Wiltshire held the only Royal warrant to hunt for truffles in the UK until 1930 since when anyone has been allowed to seek them out
8. A rare Italian white truffle sold for £28,000 at a charity auction in 2004
9. France is the largest producer of truffles, harvesting up to 30 tonnes a year. At the end of the nineteenth century production was over 1,000 tonnes
10. A fabled aphrodisiac, the black truffle’s penetrating aroma led the Epicureans to liken the scent to that of the tousled sheets of a brothel bed. In the Middle Ages, monks were prohibited from eating truffles for fear they would forget their calling.
And the most recent news in Truffles …
Scientists scent breakthrough in truffle trafficking
(AFP) – Mar 27, 2010, PARIS — One of Europe’s gastronomic jewels, the fabled black Perigord truffle, has been genetically unravelled, a feat that could doom fakers who pass off inferior truffles as the real thing, scientists said on Sunday.
The truffle, found mainly in France but also in Spain and Italy, is known by its Latin name of Tuber melanosporum. But to truffle fanatics in the southwestern French region of Perigord, the warty, golfball-sized fungus is known as the “black diamond.” It can reach 1,000 euros a kilo (605 dollars a pound) at local farmers’ markets, and several times more at shops in Paris.A tri-nation group led by geneticists at France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) says that the truffle has a DNA signature pointing to its geographical origins.Its genome comprises 125 million base pairs — the “rungs” on the double-helix genetic ladder — which encompass 7,500 genes, of which 6,000 are shared by other fungi.The remaining 1,500 genes play a key role in the truffle’s development and its symbiosis, or linked growth, with the roots of a host tree, predominantly the oak.In addition, the genome is studded with DNA telltales crafted by the nature of the soil and other local factors. Ten of these markers will go to a “truffle databank,” covering some 50 areas in France, Italy and Spain where T. melanosporum is found. “This database of genetic fingerprints will help identify the regional origin of harvested truffles and set up the means to certify these products and detect any frauds,” INRA said. Truffle hunters in France use trained pigs or dogs to sniff out the delicacy, which is found buried just under the soil surface.They are incensed by the incursion into the market of cheap rivals, especially Chinese truffles that are often passed off as “black diamonds.”One of these Chinese species is sometimes seeded with extracts from the real T. melanosporum to boost a lacklustre aroma. Another is rarer but is so similar to T. melanosporum that, until now, the only sure way to distinguish the two is analysis by an expert. Truffle associations are calling for the European Union (EU) to create a special appellation or origin to protect their national treasure.The genome, which took five years to compile, is reported online by the British journal Nature.