Fresh from the earth, the coveted Oregon white truffle can fetch up to $400 a pound.
"As a general rule, I try to stay away from lumpy brown objects fetched from the jaws of strange dogs. But when you’re in the heart of Oregon mushroom country, every mud-caked ball of earth could be a truffle treasure.
I’m standing at the edge of a dense fir forest in the Willamette Valley with 18 foot-stomping, hand-clapping gourmands and their pets—shepherds, poodles, a Chihuahua in a knit sweater. We’re huddled together on a chilly Saturday morning to learn how to hunt one of the state’s most prized culinary ingredients: the elusive Oregon truffle."
“Today we’re going after the Oregon white,” says Jim Sanford, a 6-foot-4 former elephant handler turned dog trainer and the leader of our expedition. Beside him, sitting at attention, is Tom, a 35-pound Lagotto Romagnolo with tight white and tan curls, a trained truffle hunter who in one season sniffed out 200 pounds of French Périgords, the second-most expensive mushroom in the world at around $900 a pound. “The only place we’ve ever hunted Oregon truffles is right here. Exactly this weekend every year.”
"The last full week in January, to be precise, when Oregon truffles tend to reach their musky peak of perfection and hundreds of enthusiasts from around the world come to Eugene for the Oregon Truffle Festival—three days of unrestrained fungal madness that includes workshops, cooking demos, seminars, wine tastings, and elaborate multicourse dinners built around the mud-caked balls of earth that Tom and his pack of four-legged foragers hope to uncover."
Click Here to read Ted Katauskas full article on Oregon's truffles featured in January's issue of Sunset Magazine.
Click Here to learn more about Oregon's next Truffle Festival Janury 24-26, 2014.