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Friday 28th July 2006

To truffle or not to truffle!
What provokes a woman to write about something she's never tasted, smelt or let alone even seen in the flesh!? A fantastically entertaining, comprehensive and educational book, that's what!

When Gareth Renowden offered me a pdf copy of his "The Truffle Book" I was, to be honest a little nervous. I know squat about fungi, I'm not even a huge mushroom fan, I'll eat them, however I still generally dodge them on restaurant menus.

Although strangely, as in I've never quite understood why? I adore the smell of a selection of fresh mushrooms sautéed in some butter!

Not that I'll be sautéing any truffles!
Less is more with truffles, always a good thing when you're talking NZ$3,750 a kilo!
Simple preparation with only a silver or two of fresh truffle is the real deal!

Yep, I've learnt a great deal on how to choose, prepare and enjoy truffles since reading The Truffle Book by Gareth Renowden. Local Amberley, North Canterbury, New Zealand based Pèrigord Black Truffle hopeful!

Firstly I had no idea there were so many varieties of truffle. I knew of the Pèrigord Black Truffle, only through the growing lifestyle block popularity in recent years in New Zealand and the alternative special crops that are evolving with them. And I knew only of the very popular and highly valued Italian White Truffle through various media hype and furore.
Oh and yes I’ve noticed the foolishly prized (and priced?) truffle oil available through specialty food shops.

I also now know what my first truffle experience has to be and will be!
The best i.e fresh pure truffle! I'm not going to settle!
After all I’ve waited this long I can wait a little longer, it's not going to be truffle imitation for this lady, no no! No artificial version, no canned deal, not even stale old truffle oil.

I'm not put off, even though as I admitted I haven't been a fungi fan, I mean who's to say, our tastes do change as we age, and once I'd wince at a glass Pinot Noir, it is now my favoured drop!
Therefore I'm actually very keen to try truffle. Especially now, since reading the book!
In truth Gareth is so inspiring, and his book such a delight... I've been considering areas of our own 5 acres for a few oaks and hence a future Marshall Truffière!

Hang on Bron, you don't even know if I like this fungi thing yet!
What can I say Gareth's enthusiasm is contagious!
And as he awaits his first arrival*, I will contemplate how to get myself invited to the first celebration meal - truffled chicken, salad with his own olive oil and a glass of Pinot Noir!!

I guess it’s not surprising then that I'm recommending The Truffle Book as well worth the read if you're a foodie, a wannabe truffière owner, or if you're simply keen to learn more about this popular, if a tad expensive fungi.
Gareth covers everything you'll ever want to know, all the popular truffles of French and Italian cuisine, including information on new varieties emerging from the USA and exploring the establishing industry in Australia and New Zealand.
Thankfully Gareth also includes advice for us simple food lovers on buying and using truffles and supplies us with several of his favourite classic, yet simple recipes, as well as offering his practical tips on training truffle dogs and advice for establishing a truffière.

The Truffle Book (ISBN: 0473102412) is available in softback and special limited edition hardback, and as a pdf download from Limestone Hills Ltd.

*UPDATE: Since I wrote this piece, (embarrassingly now, way before our big snow storm!) Gareth has found his first truffle! Congratulations Gareth!!

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