Meet white truffles
Long considered second in prestige only to black truffles, the very dark brown fungi uprooted in France’s Perigord and Italy’s Umbria regions, the white truffle is a Piedmontese delicacy renowned for its earthy, garlicky flavor. It’s not cheap, but many chefs now consider it the greatest of the world’s 70 truffle varieties.
Learn their backstory
Although Western Europeans briefly cooled on truffles during the Dark Ages, it’s otherwise been prized from the Roman era onward. Alexandre Dumas, author of "The Three Musketeers," even gave voice to a truffle: “Eat me and adore God,” he imagined it would say.
Part of the allure of white truffles is they can’t be grown on a farm. It takes a hunter and a dog to harvest truffles, usually a few ounces at a time. That’s why a single white truffle is so costly: When a confused Washington, D.C., restaurant patron in 2014 helped herself to a truffle on display during the eagerly awaited November-January season, mistaking it for a complimentary snack, her single bite was valued at $300.
This year, because of heavy rains where white truffles grow, wholesalers have been able to get more truffles for their buck. But according to Eater, few specialty retailers and high-end restaurants are passing along those savings to customers, partly because importers and distributors are still piling on fees.
In Charleston, Le Farfalle this October started charging $50 for a three-ounce shaving of white truffles on fettucine (white truffles are always presented raw, whether on pasta, risotto or eggs.)
And order them here
The Daily, 652 King St., shopthedaily.com, 843-619-0151 (One gram of truffles, $5-$15, depending on quality. Available through the end of the year; 48 hours' advance notice is required for purchase.)
— Hanna Raskin