The Truffe be Told



In this week’s review of Andrew Chadwick’s on Rutledge Hill, I mention a lovely dish of carpaccio topped with black truffles, which Chadwick is importing from Périgord for $1,400 a pound. With just a scintilla of the so-called “black diamonds” shaved over the buttery rose-red beef, the truffle tasting goes for a mere $27. And, like I said, it is lovely. I would love to have some right now, just as I would love to sit in the serene lounge of Chadwick’s, beside the glowing fireplace, with a neat cocktail in my hand.

But am I alone in thinking that, for $1,400, I would rather pay off a chunk of my mortgage than buy a pound of fungus? Truffle-lust, for me, is elusive. Admittedly, in the course of my life, the combined truffles that I’ve ingested probably weigh less than the film that forms on a mug of hot milk. But still, I got nothing. Like Pilates, Webkins and Celebrity Apprentice, truffles do nothing for me.

Maybe if they were more affordable, I could more excited about them. But until prices drop to something closer to the range of, say, Christie Cookies, I can’t get past the equation in which an F-150 loaded with pig food is as valuable as my residence. That just pisses me off.

Maybe the time of truffle affordability is coming. Several U.S. growers are working on cultivating black truffles, including one grower in Chuckey, Tenn., located at the eastern end of the state. (Read more about Tennessee and Oregon truffles in W magazine and The New York Times, where I swiped the photo above.) But then, of course, if truffles become accessible to the masses, will they remain alluring to the dining elite?

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