A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A captivating exploration into the secretive and sensuous world of truffles, the elusive food that has captured hearts, imaginations, and palates worldwide.
The scent of one freshly unearthed white truffle in Barolo was all it took to lead Rowan Jacobsen down a rabbit hole into a world of secretive hunts, misty woods, black-market deals, obsessive chefs, quixotic scientists, muddy dogs, maddening smells, and some of the most memorable meals ever created.
Truffles attract dreamers, schemers, and sensualists. People spend years training dogs to find them underground. They plant forests of oaks and wait a decade for truffles to appear. They pay $3,000 a pound to possess them. They turn into quivering puddles in their presence. Why?
Truffle Hound is the fascinating account of Rowan's quest to find out, a journey that would lead him from Italy to Istria, Hungary, Spain, England, and North America. Both an entertaining odyssey and a manifesto, Truffle Hound demystifies truffles-and then remystifies them, freeing them from their gilded cage and returning them to their roots as a sacred offering from the forest. It helps people understand why they respond so strongly to that crazy smell, shows them there's more to truffles than they ever imagined, and gives them all the tools they need to take their own truffle love to the next level. Deeply informed, unabashedly passionate, rakishly readable, Truffle Hound will spark America's next great culinary passion.
James Beard Award winning author Jacobsen (A Geography of Oysters) captivates with this dual narrative, both an eloquent and sensuous treatise on truffles and the enthralling story of his obsessive quest to learn everything there is to know about them. His love affair begins in the Piedmont region of Italy, at the peak of truffle season, where he smelled a white truffle for the first time. One whiff of the intoxicating aroma set him off on a passionate pursuit to learn more about the unassuming fungi: "I'd never understood the truffle thing, and now, suddenly, I had to." From a nighttime truffle hunt with a famous trifulau ("as truffle hunters are called in Piedmont") and a potentially illicit transaction in a hotel lobby to learning about the "false, misleading, and deceptive misbranding" of truffle oil in the U.S. and beyond, Jacobsen offers a thrilling dive into the secretive and lucrative world "of this subterranean wonder." The real delicacy here, though, is the arresting prose used to convey his reverence and awe: "Slice open a truffle and you'll see a beautifully marbled interior with a fine honeycomb of white veins... produce a dumbfounding cocktail of aromatic compounds.... No words can do justice to the scent of a white truffle." While that may be true, Jacobsen definitely comes close. Agent: Angela Miller, Miller Bowers Literary Management.