Where can I buy truffles?
And I don't mean the delicious ones from Godiva, lol... I'm looking for the type Mario Batalli is always using on Food Network. I just want to try them, but can't figure out where to even look. Anybody here buy them in the past around Chicago?
Call ahead to specialty grocers like Fox & Obel, Treasure Island, and Whole Foods- even if they don't have them in stock (I work for one of them), they often have vendors who can supply them.
If all else fails, you can try Chicago Game and Gourmet on Ogden at Racine- call ahead- they don't really do individual sales, but can handle a little walk-up business- cash or check only- call ahead 312.455.1800 (used to work there, I liked helping walk-ups!)
I've also looked for fresh truffles to buy with no luck. I've had fresh truffles a few times while out for dinner and simply loved them! I've also bought the jarred variety for around $38.00 (or so) from Whole Foods. It's true that they are only a portion of the flavor or aroma that real truffles are.
I recently went to Merlo on Maple and we got a truffle/pasta tasting of three different combinations that we all tried. After dinner we ended with the cheese plate and some more truffles on toasted brioche. YUM!
There are big differences between types of truffles. The ones that come in jars either whole or shaved are both inferior species and preserved, not fresh. They taste NOTHING like real truffles.
The types of truffles most people refer to are the white or black varieties from southern France and northern Italy. As compared to the jarred varieties, a fresh white truffle at current market prices will run you about $125 per 1/2 ounce, or $4,000 a pound.
I've seen them at Treasure Island occasionally, but as a special promotion. They're too expensive and perishable for most places to stock. I imagine restaurant supply houses stock them. They generally don't sell to the public, though.
You have probably heard of the $52,000 truffle that a London restaurant bought...and then accidentally allowed to rot before it could be eaten. 30 ounces, $52K...that must have been one dynamite truffle.