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Jun 16, 2009 11:12 AM

truffles - not chocolate

anyone know of a local source - and possibly price?

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  1. The mushroom place in the ferry building has them - the oregon whites are a nice reasonable price. I think the imported ones are $100/oz?

    1. Prepared dishes or truffles to cook at home? The best are not in season now. Would you be content with summer truffles? I wouldn't.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Fresh - I was thinking of ordering them from but wasn't sure of the quality. I know this is not the best time, but I did have some nice ones in Italy this time of year so thought I might give it a try.

        1. re: estnet

          This time of year they could have been preserved or fresh summer truffles.

          I've never had summer truffles here that were as good as the ones I had in Italy.

          1. re: estnet

            Melanie is right. Truffles of traditional kinds are normally imported to the Bay Area only in late Fall - early Winter when they're gathered in quantity in Italy and France. Topic below concerned sources (and cautions about them) late last Fall. Good to hear you found some worthwhile truffles in Italy this time of year but I haven't heard of regular imports. Classic truffles are the most seasonal food product I know of.

            A few years ago, astronomical prices and dwindling supply of classic truffles from Europe induced entrepreneurs to begin marketing secondary or minor species, most not even retailed previously, because so different from what people always understood as a "truffle." This includes T. aestivum (black "summer" truffle, nothing like a real black truffle, and only the skin is usually black), another species cultivated in Asia, and T. oregonense, "Oregon white," one of many local species and again nothing like the famous "white truffles" of Italy although it can be an interesting flavorful wild mushroom. Though enjoyable for their particular merits, it's important to know that these recently marketed species are not the "truffles" mentioned in most cookbooks of the last hundred years.


            1. re: eatzalot

              The ones is selling are indeed T. aestivum - which it states are imported from Italy. IIRC the ones I had in Italy were white - but it was a few years ago. Not sure if it would be a worthwhile gamble to try them (altho costco does have a remarkable return policy), but the price is low enough that it makes me wonder.
              I've never had any preserved truffles that had any taste - is there such a thing? After two attempts I gave up on that idea.

              1. re: estnet

                Black truffles (Tuber melanosorum Vitt) preserve very well. Personally I much prefer them cooked.

                Tuber aestivum is sort of like a mild black truffle. It has a pale center.

                I've had white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico) pastes, oils, and salts that had good aroma (which is what white truffles are about), better than most of the fresh ones I've had in recent years here.

        2. I bought an ounce of autumn truffles from last fall for about $80 - turned out to be two truffles not quite the size of golf balls. Their flavor was good, but not nearly as good as a winter truffle. If you can wait until winter (they usually start showing up in december) you want fresh black truffles (tuber melanosporum) or white truffles (Tuber magnatum). Summer, Chinese, and Oregon truffles are all completely different. In the summertime, you are best off using truffle butter, oil or salt.