Truffles of French and Italian heritage have long been considered a delicacy for centuries and are sought after by chefs around the world, which is probably why they have such a hefty price tag. Oregon truffles, though, have earned a well deserved place in restaurants and home kitchens alike, thanks to local foraging and lower market pricing.
Since 2006, The Oregon Truffle Festival has been working to change the New World’s truffle reputation. Live events are back on the festival line-up in 2023 to engage the public in real time learning, foraging and tasting. Although the popular truffle dinner is sold out, local and regional culinary experts will be featured at a variety of unique food and wine events that showcase truffles. To the delight of an eager public, the Fresh Truffle Marketplace, a grand tasting and shopping event, is back on the schedule and is advertised to be bigger than ever.
Consistent with the festival’s training and education mission, other offerings are seminars on proper truffle cultivation techniques and hunt-dog training, both of which are necessary to ensure that only the best specimens reach the market.
The wild truffle industry in the Pacific Northwest has received considerable attention in the last two decades. Each variety of Oregon truffle has a distinctive taste and appearance, ranging from the savory white truffle to the sweet black truffle which, with its unique aroma of chocolate and pineapple, is perfect shaved on top of a bowl of ice cream.
So why are Oregon truffles less prized than European varieties? The key to flavor in truffles is finding them at the peak of ripeness, which is best determined by the truffle’s aroma. For this reason, the sensitive noses of dogs and pigs lend a truffle-hunting edge.
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