Dug days ago in Umbria, this imported black truffle may not be as expensive as you think.
If you’re one of those people who dislike the hideous truffle oil, and spend much of the year crying into your glass of vino nobile de montepulciano that you can’t get a taste of truffles except once in a blue moon when you travel in Central Italy, you should now reappraise your sorry situation.
For, you see, around this time of year, a quantity of actual truffles meanders into town, still brushing the dirt off themselves. Fall is black truffle season in Central Italy and, back on home turf, they’re as cheap as gummy bears. For a few glorious weeks, that cheapness can be your cheapness, too.
Buon Italia currently has a big jar of them in the glass case under the cash register, on display for all to see. Most shoppers look at the price tag of $400 a pound and cluck that they wish they could afford such luxuries. Well, they can. Because one black truffle–easily enough to shave in luxuriant quantities over four plates of buttered pasta, or incorporate into four bowls of farmer’s eggs from the Union Square market, will set you back a mere $10. And the lucky diners who dine with you will think you’re as rich as a king. Once you’ve eaten real truffles, you’ll never go back to fakey truffle oil again. Chelsea Market, 15th Street and Ninth Avenue
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 30, 2009