Beneath the gloss of star chefs and crystal-laden tables, the truffle supply chain is touched by theft, secrecy, sabotage, and fraud. Farmers patrol their fields with rifles and fear losing trade secrets to spies. Hunters plant poisoned meatballs to eliminate rival truffle-hunting dogs. Naive buyers and even knowledgeable experts are duped by liars and counterfeits.
Deeply reported and elegantly written, this page-turning exposé documents the dark, sometimes deadly crimes at each level of the truffle's path from ground to plate, making sense of an industry that traffics in scarcity, seduction, and cash. Through it all, a question lingers: What, other than money, draws people to these dirt-covered jewels?
"The ultimate truffle true crime tale: A thrilling journey through the hidden underworld of the world's most prized luxury ingredient."
– Bianca Bosker, New York Times bestselling author of Cork Dork
"In elegant, mesmerizing prose, Ryan Jacobs has delivered a forest-to-table page-turner from the outer limits of our foodie culture, a place where colorful farmers, serial dog murderers and famous chefs grapple over a crudely foraged fungus that's traded in parking lots and bars, like heroin. The Truffle Underground is an eye-opener for anyone who's picked up a fork."
– Steve Fainaru, New York Times bestselling author of League of Denial and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter
"The Truffle Underground is a fascinating, genre-blending romp. It's a business book, a mystery, a science lesson, and a love story that's as seductive as the buttery fungus at the heart of it all."
– Derek Thompson, national bestselling author of Hit Makers and staff writer at The Atlantic
"Investigative journalist and first-time author Jacobs does a remarkable job reporting from the front lines of the truffle industry, bringing to vivid life French black-truffle farmers, Italian white-truffle foragers, and their marvelously well-trained dogs."
– Booklist (starred review)
"[A] fascinating work [...] This deeply researched and eye-opening account of the lengths people will go for wealth, gratification, and a taste of the prized fungus will captivate readers."
– Publishers Weekly