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Beware of truffles at Craft!

r
RicRios Aug 27, 2008 06:46 AM

Yesterday, at Craft.
Waiter says "We have white truffles".
I ask "From where?"
Waiter says : "Alba, Italy".
I say: "Too early".
Waiter says: "This ones are the first, just arrived."

Preposterous. Of course we declined.
I couldn't resist emailing today to my truffles contact in Italy.
Contact says : No way, nothing until October at best ("Settembre è un mese di fermo biologico").

Now, question: does Colicchio need to push Chinese or God Knows what stuff as the real thing? Shame on you, Mister!

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  1. Porthos RE: RicRios Aug 27, 2008 08:53 AM

    It could just be the ignorance of the waiter.

    I previously posted that Providence and Mori are now offering matsutake and it's also way too early for that. The smell and taste of the Mori ones were actually quite strong in a good way. The Providence ones were supposedly from Mexico.

    Something is brewing in the LA dining scene or the fungus world.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Porthos
      r
      RicRios RE: Porthos Aug 27, 2008 09:23 AM

      The waiter was very clear of the concept.
      The word "Alba" is ONLY used in the context of Tuber Magnatum Pico, he must have been instructed by management.
      But you are definitely right, something is brewing in the LA fungus world, although I'm afraid whatever it is, doesn't look good. Or ethical, for that matter.

      1. re: RicRios
        Porthos RE: RicRios Aug 27, 2008 10:14 AM

        Agreed that something stinks and it's not the scent of fine fungus. The NYT piece on fake fish makes you think that pawning off fake/inferior fungus most likely has been going on for some time already and we are just beginning to suspect.

        1. re: Porthos
          GenevieveCa RE: Porthos Aug 28, 2008 01:13 PM

          You know what i took away from that piece? That people are willing to pay for the idea of something grand without actually knowing the difference.

          It is extremely dishonest of restaurants and food purveyors to mislabel their products and charge the client for it.

          In the same breath i cannot empathize with "foodies" who eat it up, pay for it, brag about it and then get upset when they are told they were duped.

          1. re: GenevieveCa
            l
            la tache burger RE: GenevieveCa Aug 28, 2008 01:38 PM

            Here's where I'm not quite with you. I am someone who loves to eat great food and drink great wine. Now, I actually know my wine, so if someone were trying to tell me something was amazing that wasn't I would confidently KNOW. Counter-example, I don't know a lot about truffles and I've eaten very few of them in my life. If I go to Craft and eat an $85 dish with "truffles from Alba" I am not only trusting that the information is accurate, I'm also trusting Craft and Colicchio and Accarrino to be helping me to experience something that is exotic to me and helping me to develop a taste for it. If I'm getting wrong info, that's really inexcusable. AT BEST, It would be like pouring me a California pinot and telling me it's a grand cru red burgundy. Which doesn't mean California doesn't make some great Pinots, obviously, or that Tennessee doesn't make some great truffles. It's just wrong, especially when you're talking about that kinda money.

      2. re: Porthos
        ipsedixit RE: Porthos Aug 27, 2008 09:38 AM

        Mori probably got his shrooms from the Pacific NW.

        1. re: ipsedixit
          Porthos RE: ipsedixit Aug 27, 2008 10:08 AM

          Yes, but season in Oregon usually starts early September (just called one of the park ranger stations and was told this year starts Sept 2nd) and I've had matsutake the past 2 weeks already.

        2. re: Porthos
          coastie RE: Porthos Aug 28, 2008 12:22 PM

          Matsutake are growing where I live

        3. b
          Bert RE: RicRios Aug 27, 2008 10:26 AM

          actually, it sounds like they may be telling the truth. this website claims that there's an early season, but is only charging $95/oz for them, which seems oddly cheap. not sure what's going on, but it's possible that there are alba truffles right now?

          http://www.gourmetfoodstore.com/truff...

          1. 2
            2chez mike RE: RicRios Aug 27, 2008 10:30 AM

            Maybe it has something to do with climate change.

            1. n
              nosh RE: RicRios Aug 27, 2008 10:41 AM

              In order to ascertain the truth, I just called Craft. Got a woman taking reservations named Grace, told her there was a dispute about Craft's truffles, and asked what is being offered, where they are from, and what is the price. We joked about how I'd like to ask Colicchio if he were available. After inquiring in the kitchen, she put me through to a sous chef named Michael. Told him of the truffle controversy. His immediate reply was that they have indeed received some "summer white truffles" but he admitted that a waiter must be mistaken if he identified them as from Alba, "where we have gotten our truffles in the past." He said he would look into the question, took my number, and told me he'd get back to me. This entire exchange took about five minutes and ended a few minutes ago.

              1. n
                nosh RE: RicRios Aug 27, 2008 11:47 AM

                Just got a call from Matthew Accarino (beware of my spelling) from Craft. He says they are shaving white truffles from Tuscany. He says it is the earliest he can ever recall for truffles to be available. He says that a 6g. shaving is part of a dish available for $85 total. Look, as I explained to him, I have no horse in this race. I just saw the accusation against Craft and as a restaurant that I respect, I made a couple of calls to get the true story. I admire them for responding well within an hour, and having the Chowhound thread in front of them.

                18 Replies
                1. re: nosh
                  n
                  ns1 RE: nosh Aug 27, 2008 11:54 AM

                  that's pretty awesome that he followed up on it

                  1. re: ns1
                    n
                    nosh RE: ns1 Aug 27, 2008 12:22 PM

                    Responded within twenty minutes, before lunch service rather than waiting until after. No matter what the quality of the truffles, the concern for their reputation and their accessibility speaks volumes. At most places, the hostess picking up the phone would write a quick note and it would be hours if not days, if at all. Kudos to Craft.

                    1. re: nosh
                      2
                      2surly RE: nosh Aug 27, 2008 04:01 PM

                      White truffles from TUSCANY? I am by no means a white truffle expert but true Alba white truffles would be from Piedmont, not Tuscany. I wonder if it's the same species. Tuscany is not that far from Piedmont, so it may be possible, but I'm a little skeptical, given the time of the year. Oh well, stranger things have happened, especially when Mother Nature is involved.

                      Awesome detective work Nosh. Very cool of the chef to follow up personally.

                      1. re: 2surly
                        JeMange RE: 2surly Aug 27, 2008 04:10 PM

                        You people need to get a hobby! Wait, this is a hobby... Cool!

                        1. re: JeMange
                          maxzook RE: JeMange Aug 27, 2008 07:44 PM

                          roflmao, JeMange ...

                        2. re: 2surly
                          b
                          Burger Boy RE: 2surly Aug 27, 2008 09:17 PM

                          I believe they refered to them as summer white truffles, not alba truffles. I know nothing about truffles, just repeating what they said.

                        3. re: nosh
                          j
                          Jase RE: nosh Aug 27, 2008 08:13 PM

                          Great job digging up the story. Amazing how that cleared up everything and there was all this nefarious insinuations from a simple case of miscommunication from a waiter.

                          1. re: Jase
                            a
                            Adsvino RE: Jase Aug 28, 2008 09:46 AM

                            Not so simple IMHO. Craft should know better. When you are pushing something that can cost $5000 a pound, you owe it to the diner to GET IT RIGHT.

                            Been a victim to the same "miscommunication" (read: salesmanship) at other LA restaurants.

                            1. re: Adsvino
                              j
                              Jase RE: Adsvino Aug 28, 2008 08:18 PM

                              Sure, but it's a long way from a waiter screwing it up to accusing the restaurant of wholesale fraud. If there was suspicion, why not ask the manager right away? Instead we have all this subterfuge of contacting overseas personal sources, etc.

                              A five minute conversation with the manager that night and this would have been a more complete story and less of a he said, she said. If the manager and chef that night had flat out said it was one thing but not the other, then yeah, flame them all in this public forum. But now we're all relying on third hand reports.

                              I just think its bad for patrons and restaurants to automatically assume the worst of each other. It makes it harder for all of us to pursue good chow.

                      2. re: nosh
                        a213b RE: nosh Aug 28, 2008 12:14 PM

                        nosh, thank you for taking the time to uncover the truth here.

                        My wife and I ate at Craft with 3 other couples a few weeks ago, and I had the White Truffle Ravioli, which I am sure is the dish being referenced here, as it is listed on the menu at $85.

                        I will say that when I asked my server about the truffles, seeking clarification on the type of white truffle being used ... in particular looking for clarity on it being a Summer variety, as well as region, she only could reply that, "Oh, they're the real deal." So I think this is more a matter of waitstaff not being as well-informed as the diners, which is something I experience not infrequently here in LA. I suspect it is a result of the Hollywood Model-Actor-Waiter (MAW) found here in LA versus the more career-oriented Waiters found on the East Coast and abroad.

                        That being said, our meal at Craft was definitely one of the best we've had in LA, and I even took the time to express such to Chef Matthew after the fact. His response to the concerns here gibes with my overall high impression of him. When we spoke after our meal, he was very appreciative of all comments (both positive and constructively critical), and he even took the time to walk with me from the kitchen out to the valet stand and chat while we waited for the car to be brought around.

                        I would absolutely recommend Craft to anyone.

                        1. re: a213b
                          a
                          Adsvino RE: a213b Aug 28, 2008 02:06 PM

                          Hey, if you don't mind paying $85 for cheap summer truffles, go for it. I would consider that a major rip off. Only Alba truffles are worth anything close to that price.

                          1. re: a213b
                            omotosando RE: a213b Aug 28, 2008 06:07 PM

                            a213b, what do you especially recommend at Craft? The menu is a bit overwhelming and if you are only with one other person, you cannot sample everything, so I am always looking for Craft recommendations. Yesterday, I had chicken with black-eyed peas for lunch at Craft. Probably the best restaurant chicken I have had in 10 years in the U.S.

                            1. re: omotosando
                              n
                              nosh RE: omotosando Aug 28, 2008 10:42 PM

                              You are right, the extensive menu at Craft can be hard to navigate. The one dish that receives the most universal acclaim is the roasted assorted mushrooms as a side.

                              [No, not the truffles, the mushrooms.]

                              1. re: nosh
                                omotosando RE: nosh Aug 29, 2008 02:57 PM

                                Ironically although I adore Craft, the mushrooms don't blow me away. Now the corn I had there one night, that's another story . .

                                1. re: omotosando
                                  s
                                  steakrules85 RE: omotosando Sep 12, 2008 07:42 AM

                                  I'm goign to Craft next week and they have braised corn on the menu. Was this what you had and what made it so special? I truly love corn but there are so many interedting sides that I don't want to make the wrong choice. Is the corn one of the better sides?

                                2. re: nosh
                                  s
                                  slacker RE: nosh Aug 29, 2008 03:04 PM

                                  The Hen of the Woods mushrooms is what people fawn over. It was not available when I went.

                                  When I went they had that--I never remember the name--very large white one with lots of stem (you eat the stem). You can get it at most Chinese markets. It was very nicely roasted, but I felt ripped off bc it's so cheap at the Chinese markets.

                                3. re: omotosando
                                  a213b RE: omotosando Aug 29, 2008 03:53 PM

                                  As we were a party of 8, I was able to
                                  sample a variety of dishes. Here are the thoughts my wife and I had:

                                  Starters: if you are comfortable with the price, the white truffle raviolo was fantastic. Also, both the seared foie gras and the sweetbreads were delicious.

                                  Mains: the table ended up with 5 steaks (4 Bone-in NY and 1 Flatiron), 2 Braised Short Ribs and 1 Fish (though I cant recall which). We both loved the braised short rib, although I will admit to being a sucker for braised meats in general. No one liked the flatiron, and reviews were mixed on the NY - several loved them, but my wife and I didn't. Don't get me wrong ... it was better than one from Ruths Chris, but having just eaten at Jar and Cut (and even Mozza), we found their steaks to be tastier.

                                  Sides: We got the duck-fat fries, the green beans, the sweet corn, the mushrooms, the onions, the lemon-artichoke risotto, potato gratin, and the potato purée.

                                  Everyone LOVED the potato purée, the risotto, and the corn. The duck-fat fries, mushrooms, green beans, and potato gratin were good, but nothing amazing or groundbreaking. The onions were simply not good. The had far too much of a vinegary flavor, and it was very off-putting. We mentioned it to our server, and she acknowledged that it must not have been cooked properly, and accordingly removed it from the check.

                                  Desserts: The table had 2 orders of the homemade donuts, 2 chocolate soufflés, 1 order of ice cream and waffles, and 1 order of the peanut butter cup.

                                  None of the desserts were mind-blowing, as in I would not make a special trip to Craft solely for dessert. That being said, several atbthe table really enjoyed the donuts, but both my wife and I thought they left a little something to be desired. The chocolate soufflés were quite good. The ice cream and waffles were good, but always feel like I can get good Ice Cream at a variety of spots around town that focus on ice cream.

                                  The peanut butter cup was the favorite of the table, it was very tasty ... and I find that type of dish is almost always lackluster whenever I've tried it elsewhere.

                                  Anyway, hope that helps ... let me know if there's anything else you want to know.

                                  1. re: a213b
                                    l
                                    la tache burger RE: a213b Sep 4, 2008 03:56 PM

                                    Steaks did nothing for me at Craft either. Other stuff better.

                            2. 2
                              2surly RE: RicRios Aug 28, 2008 04:02 PM

                              Still not an expert on truffles, but saw some interesting information about them (it's wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt). First off, the white truffle (tuber magnatum) is found primarily in the Piedmont region, but can also be found in one small area of Croatia as well. There are also "whitish" truffles (tuber borchi) and these truffles are in fact found in Tuscany and Romagna. However, they are not as aromatic as their Piedmontese cousins. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to read more about the whitish truffles to see what the season is, or to see if these were in fact the "summer" white truffles. But in light of what the chef told nosh, it would make sense, although I wish I knew if their seasonality was the same or similar to the winter white truffle.

                              I think I now know more about gourmet fungus than I ever thought I would (or would care to). Curiosity is my worst enemy.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: 2surly
                                d
                                drpynchon RE: 2surly Aug 28, 2008 05:45 PM

                                The bianchetto (tuber borchii), or "whitish" truffle, is indeed cultivated in the region of Tuscany, and is in fact sometimes referred to as the Tuscany white truffle. The season however typically begins in winter and ends in early spring. Though they do tend to preserve better than the Alba, I do think August is a bit late to be serving fresh bianchetto and quite early for Alba white truffles.

                                1. re: drpynchon
                                  a
                                  Adsvino RE: drpynchon Sep 3, 2008 06:41 AM

                                  This thread made the LA times today (with a quote from Ric)

                                  1. re: Adsvino
                                    j
                                    justagthing RE: Adsvino Sep 3, 2008 07:00 AM

                                    Are you able to provide a link? TIA

                                    1. re: justagthing
                                      Servorg RE: justagthing Sep 3, 2008 07:15 AM

                                      http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/daily...

                                  2. re: drpynchon
                                    j
                                    jenn RE: drpynchon Sep 10, 2008 04:55 PM

                                    ummm, I thought the thing about truffles is that you CAN'T cultivate them---they are wild and grow whereever the heck they feel like growing.......if they could be cultivated, they wouldn't cost so much.

                                    Truffles--white and black-- grow in lots of places. Its just that all the places they grow don't result in tasty truffles. I had domestic white truffles before and couldn't figure out the big deal. Oh they smelled fine but there was no taste worth the price that was being charged.

                                    IMHO.

                                    1. re: jenn
                                      d
                                      drpynchon RE: jenn Sep 16, 2008 04:47 PM

                                      So sorry.. Of course. Cultivate wasn't the right word there, though in point of fact, people do try to cultivate truffles. It's just easier said than done and yields mixed results.

                                2. r
                                  RicRios RE: RicRios Sep 4, 2008 03:37 PM

                                  I transcribe an email received a couple days ago ( unfortunately it ended up in the spam folder, therefore my delay in posting )

                                  Hello,

                                  My name is Tyler Gray; I am the co-owner / founder of Mikuni Wild Harvest. We are a specialty foods company that has been in business for the last 10 years. We have warehouses in Portland / Vancouver / Las Vegas & New York. The reason I am writing you is because we were contacted from the LA Times about a post that was made on Chowhoud regarding the authenticity of some White “Alba” Truffles (tuber magnatum) which we sold Craft LA. As I told the food writer from the LA Times, we have been buying truffles from the same company in Italy for the last 10 years; they are the largest and most respected Truffle Company in the world and there ethics are uncompromised. Mikuni has been selling Fresh truffles to the top restaurants in the USA for years (Per Se, Masa, Charlie Trotters, ect ect) and they continue to buy from us because they trust us. I also told her that although it is early to see White Alba Truffles, it is not unheard of….and in fact they are the ONLY white truffle growing anywhere in the world right now. The only other Fresh truffles that are growing right now are Black Summer Truffles and Black Burgundy Truffles both varieties are growing in Umbria, some regions of France and a few in Croatia…..there are also a few Black Winter Truffles coming out of Australia. None of these species can be mistaken for a white truffle; the aesthetics & aroma are like night and day, or black and white if you will. With all due respect to your contact in Italy, I must say that he is wrong on this particular issue. It is very hard to pin point seasonality with Wild foods, I have been foraging for wild foods since I was a kid and seasonal growth patterns have drastic changes all the time…if you read some of the other posts responding to your initial comment you will notice that someone was adamant that Matsutake Mushrooms could not possibly be in season right now as it is “to early” and although it is early….we have been seeing & selling them for the last 3 weeks, so there are always exceptions.

                                  I would be happy to talk to you over the phone to discuss in more detail if you’re interested, or I could liaison a phone call between you and the president of Urbani Truffles in Italy, (who we purchase from) to help clear up any confusion or mis-understanding regarding the authenticity of the white truffles that are currently being sold at Craft LA. My goal in writing this to you is to try and clear up the negative impression your post made on the integrity of Craft Restaurant. I would be happy to post something myself on Chowhound but I thought you might be interested in doing so after either reading this, or talking with me.

                                  I look forward to hearing from you & Thanks in advance,

                                  Tyler Gray

                                  tylerg@mikuniwildharvest.com

                                  www.mikuniwildharvest.com

                                  ph. 866-993-9927

                                  fax. 800-520-8304

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: RicRios
                                    Servorg RE: RicRios Sep 4, 2008 03:40 PM

                                    Is this post your apology?

                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      r
                                      RicRios RE: Servorg Sep 4, 2008 03:45 PM

                                      Nope, research is ongoing.

                                      1. re: RicRios
                                        Servorg RE: RicRios Sep 4, 2008 03:47 PM

                                        So you are still convinced that Craft is defrauding the public with their "white truffles"?

                                        1. re: Servorg
                                          r
                                          RicRios RE: Servorg Sep 4, 2008 04:45 PM

                                          As I said above, I'm still digging.
                                          Once I get to the bottom I'll report back.

                                          1. re: RicRios
                                            n
                                            New Trial RE: RicRios Sep 5, 2008 12:12 AM

                                            Well, digging is the proper way to get truffles.

                                        2. re: RicRios
                                          a
                                          Adsvino RE: RicRios Sep 4, 2008 03:50 PM

                                          Did he say where his are from?

                                          1. re: Adsvino
                                            r
                                            RicRios RE: Adsvino Sep 4, 2008 04:46 PM

                                            Gray says in his email he buys from Urbani.

                                          2. re: RicRios
                                            l
                                            la tache burger RE: RicRios Sep 4, 2008 04:03 PM

                                            "nope" ... lol

                                        3. re: RicRios
                                          Porthos RE: RicRios Sep 10, 2008 05:12 PM

                                          To clarify Mr. Gray's point about me being adament about matsutake not being in season. You can buy tomatoes in winter, but that doesn't mean it's tomato season. You can have kohada year round but that doesn't mean it's kohada season. There is a certain time in the year when a certain ingredient is at its peak ripeness, flavor, fat content, etc. That's usually what season means.

                                          This is relevent to the original discussion because apparently you can get white alba truffles from Tuscany in August and matsutake from Mexico but that is of a different quality and flavor than alba truffles from Piedmont in October or November or Matsutake from Japan at the height of "season".

                                          In regards to matsutake in Oregon, why would state parks designate a specific date for season and picking? Does this imply that it is not legal to pick matsutake before the designated start date? I don't know. Maybe someone from Oregon could answer this question.

                                          1. re: Porthos
                                            b
                                            bulavinaka RE: Porthos Sep 12, 2008 09:00 AM

                                            My dad's friend up in Coos Bay used to go out in the forest behind his home and harvest at will back in the 70s and early 80s. When he would visit my parents, he'd show up in his RV with one or two ice chests full of matsutake sitting in pine needles. Once the word got out that the area was rich with matsutake, the forests of Oregon experienced a gold rush of sorts. The result was those harvesting mushrooms were trashing the forests and pulling up the smallest bits of mushrooms they could find. I think it would be a fair assumption but I don't know if this overharvesting and the trampling and overturning of massive areas of forest floor is what led to the establishment of seasons though. My dad's friend has since moved so we've lost track of the situation from a first person's point-of-view.

                                        4. Akitist RE: RicRios Sep 5, 2008 09:12 AM

                                          With all the adulterated and mislabeled food products on the market a certain amount of skepticism is healthy. Olive oil and wine from Italy have recently figured in this sort of thing.

                                          Maybe some DNA testing on Craft's truffles would settle things.

                                          1. r
                                            RicRios RE: RicRios Sep 5, 2008 10:55 AM

                                            OK, here's the deal.

                                            The "very fragrant Tuscany" line mentioned in the LA Times blog is pure hogwash.

                                            All there is now, and there's been for a few weeks back ( and, so it seems, is fairly common this time of the year ) is an early batch of magnatum in Croatia.

                                            From my Croatian contact:
                                            "Yes, there are already fresh magnatum, but are not stabile yet(aroma, small worms) I cant garanty the quality. Price at the moment: 700eur/kg"
                                            (sic)

                                            In conclusion:

                                            FIRST, not good quality nor ready for market yet.
                                            SECOND, low price ( which matches the low quality ) of 700 Euro/Kilo ( not reflected in Craft's pricing).
                                            THIRD, low aroma, which obviously mandates generous sprinkling with truffle oil.
                                            FOURTH, a suggestion for Craft's COLASUATs (Consummers of late summer Alba truffles): Ask for the stuff to be shaved at the table. If they refuse, then pass.

                                            Caveat Emptor!

                                            17 Replies
                                            1. re: RicRios
                                              a213b RE: RicRios Sep 5, 2008 11:07 AM

                                              Would you mind posting your Italian and Croatian contacts' info please?

                                              1. re: a213b
                                                r
                                                RicRios RE: a213b Sep 5, 2008 11:08 AM

                                                http://www.centrotartufimolise.com/

                                                http://www.zigantetartufi.com/novo/in...

                                                1. re: RicRios
                                                  a213b RE: RicRios Sep 5, 2008 11:12 AM

                                                  Thanks ... much appreciated!

                                              2. re: RicRios
                                                l
                                                la tache burger RE: RicRios Sep 5, 2008 11:14 AM

                                                How does this, and also the letter from Tyler Gray, jibe with Accarrino's comment that they are from Tuscany? That's not a loaded question, there's a lot of place names I am not following in this thread.

                                                1. re: la tache burger
                                                  r
                                                  RicRios RE: la tache burger Sep 5, 2008 11:21 AM

                                                  Just a marketing gimmmick.

                                                  White truffles are supposed to come from "Alba" i.e., Piemonte, i.e. Italy. Tuscany being close enough, and prestigious enough, in the public's perception.

                                                  By the same token, black truffles ( tuber melanosporum ) are referred to as "Périgord", when in actuality they are now mostly farmed, with Spain being one of the major players.

                                                  All this thread reminds me of the Lewinsky affair.
                                                  The irritating factor is not the facts per se, but the lying.

                                                  1. re: RicRios
                                                    d
                                                    ddr705 RE: RicRios Sep 5, 2008 12:06 PM

                                                    at this point, it seems its a matter of contact versus contact. and despite your digging, i see no reason to take your 'croatian contact' as the true accurate source for an answer.

                                                    it would be naive, imo, to jump to the conclusion of "lying" as you just did.

                                                    1. re: ddr705
                                                      l
                                                      la tache burger RE: ddr705 Sep 5, 2008 12:11 PM

                                                      Is it fair to say there should not be so much confusion over something an extremely highly regarded restaurant is charging so much money for? Again, I am not a truffle expert by a long shot, so I'm really just asking. But I would be completely putting myself in the hands of the restaurant because I know nothing about truffles, expecting both an experience and an education. Right?

                                                      1. re: la tache burger
                                                        Servorg RE: la tache burger Sep 5, 2008 12:32 PM

                                                        When it comes to putting ourselves in the hands of the restaurant; as we all do with the provenance of the lamb or what grade of beef we're being served or what fish filet is on the plate in front of us or what the "organic" status of the vegetables is and on and on and on.

                                                      2. re: ddr705
                                                        r
                                                        RicRios RE: ddr705 Sep 5, 2008 12:29 PM

                                                        Not quite.
                                                        The market is very small, all producers/distributors at the top of the chain know each other fairly well, and are well aware of product, prices & availability.

                                                        1. re: RicRios
                                                          n
                                                          ns1 RE: RicRios Sep 5, 2008 12:34 PM

                                                          Should just invite them all to this board and have them battle it out.

                                                          1. re: ns1
                                                            r
                                                            RicRios RE: ns1 Sep 5, 2008 01:09 PM

                                                            Sure, why not, that'll be fun. Please go ahead!

                                                            1. re: RicRios
                                                              n
                                                              ns1 RE: RicRios Sep 5, 2008 01:17 PM

                                                              You seem to be the one stirring the pot, so don't look at me.

                                                              1. re: ns1
                                                                d
                                                                ddr705 RE: ns1 Sep 5, 2008 03:15 PM

                                                                it seems this discussion has reached something of an impasse. Craft and co say one thing, and your Croatian contact says another.

                                                  2. re: RicRios
                                                    q
                                                    QualityMart RE: RicRios Sep 17, 2008 01:02 AM

                                                    I don't know anything about truffles, but you certainly haven't shown that Mr. Tyler Gray's assertions were false. All you've shown is that some third party thinks the claims are false, without any supporting evidence. Why don't you take Mr. Gray up on the offer to speak with president of Urbani Truffles?

                                                    1. re: QualityMart
                                                      r
                                                      RicRios RE: QualityMart Sep 17, 2008 08:50 AM

                                                      I did.
                                                      I called Urbani NY, spoke with Rosita ( 718 433 1560 )
                                                      Rosita referred me to Francesco, their rep in LA ( 310 804 0393 )
                                                      Francesco said he had some stuff right now but he suggested waiting a little b/c what he had at the time was not very good.

                                                      1. re: RicRios
                                                        s
                                                        staggerlee RE: RicRios Sep 17, 2008 11:49 AM

                                                        you guys and girls are getting way too upset about all of this. i am a chef here in town who sells lots of truffles during the season, both black and white. i am also a full fledged mushroom nerd, and a former member of the los angeles mycoligical society (i'll show you the t-shirt if you don't believe me). the fact is that there are white truffles around and while they might not come from alba they are tuber magnatum pico.
                                                        and as for matsutakes, we have been enjoying them for the past month. the earliest ones came from mexico and now they are coming from washington and soon from canada. mushrooms and truffles are mysterious things that don't always conform to schedules and expectations.

                                                        1. re: staggerlee
                                                          a
                                                          Adsvino RE: staggerlee Sep 17, 2008 03:26 PM

                                                          But do they conform to a value of $95 a grating?

                                                  3. Akitist RE: RicRios Sep 5, 2008 06:03 PM

                                                    A little search led me to an article in an online Seattle news"paper". I excerpted the following paragraph:

                                                    "Budget-conscious consumers aren't the only ones likely to buy mislabeled food. Shopping at the most expensive stores, even for the most costly items, is not a guarantee of quality and safety. Two extreme examples are exorbitantly priced fresh Italian white truffles and Russian beluga caviar. Some specialty stores have discovered that some suppliers selling them had mislabeled white truffles from China as Italian and purported Russian caviar actually was made from soy meal."

                                                    Not to say Craft's truffles were bogus, but that some are.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Akitist
                                                      d
                                                      ddr705 RE: Akitist Sep 5, 2008 11:46 PM

                                                      Mikuni Wild Harvest is the most reputable and foremost truffle distributor in the United States. You say that "all there has been... is an early batch of magnatum in Croatia." Unfortunately, RicRios, I think you and your croation friend are incorrect.

                                                      1. re: ddr705
                                                        b
                                                        buttermarblepopcorn RE: ddr705 Sep 10, 2008 12:17 AM

                                                        (Psst I think his friend is Italian)

                                                        1. re: buttermarblepopcorn
                                                          a
                                                          AGENT FOODIE RE: buttermarblepopcorn Sep 10, 2008 12:29 AM

                                                          man you guys are really into this truffle thing...i thought you guys were talking about chocolate......hey JK.....sometimes i feel like the chefs or owners should be honest about what they are selling, but on the other hand you should have some idea about what you are buying...anyways

                                                          1. re: buttermarblepopcorn
                                                            a
                                                            Adsvino RE: buttermarblepopcorn Sep 10, 2008 08:17 AM

                                                            Nope, Croatian,

                                                            1. re: Adsvino
                                                              Akitist RE: Adsvino Sep 10, 2008 08:35 AM

                                                              Original post refers to an Italian contact; the Croatian was mentioned later.

                                                              "I couldn't resist emailing today to my truffles contact in Italy.
                                                              Contact says : No way, nothing until October at best ("Settembre è un mese di fermo biologico")."

                                                              Unless it was an Italian-speaking Croat residing in Italy, not impossible, I guess.

                                                              1. re: Akitist
                                                                a
                                                                Adsvino RE: Akitist Sep 10, 2008 01:56 PM

                                                                He called both - 2 different contacts.

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