A captivating exploration into the secretive and sensuous world of truffles, the elusive food that has captured hearts, imaginations, and palates worldwide.
The scent of one freshly unearthed white truffle in Barolo was all it took to lead Rowan Jacobsen down a rabbit hole into a world of secretive hunts, misty woods, black-market deals, obsessive chefs, quixotic scientists, muddy dogs, maddening smells, and some of the most memorable meals ever created.
Truffles attract dreamers, schemers, and sensualists. People spend years training dogs to find them underground. They plant forests of oaks and wait a decade for truffles to appear. They pay £2,170 a pound to possess them. They turn into quivering puddles in their presence. Why?
Truffle Hound is the fascinating account of Rowan's quest to find out, a journey that would lead him from Italy to Istria, Hungary, Spain, England, and North America. Both an entertaining odyssey and a manifesto, Truffle Hound demystifies truffles-and then remystifies them, freeing them from their gilded cage and returning them to their roots as a sacred offering from the forest. It helps people understand why they respond so strongly to that crazy smell, shows them there's more to truffles than they ever imagined, and gives them all the tools they need to take their own truffle love to the next level. Deeply informed, unabashedly passionate, rakishly readable, Truffle Hound will spark Britain's next great culinary passion.
Rowan Jacobsen is the author of the James Beard Award-winning A Geography of Oysters, Apples of Uncommon Character, The Essential Oyster, and other books. He has written for the New York Times, Harper's, Newsweek, Outside, Food & Wine, and others, and appears regularly in the Best American Science & Nature Writing and Best Food Writing collections. He is the recipient of an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship; a second James Beard Award for his Eating Well piece on the collapse of honeybees; a Society of American Travel Writers prize; and an Overseas Press Club award. He was a Knight Fellow at MIT in 2017-18. He lives in Vermont.
"With a dose of romanticism that inevitably comes with truffles, Jacobsen teaches even this jaded truffle-hunter a thing or two. It is less a book about food than an incitement to passion."
– John Wright, author of The Forager's Calendar
"Rowan Jacobsen's Truffle Hound, like a truffle, charms by seducing us-with the odd people he calls "post-modern hunter gatherers", and, best of all, the irresistible professional truffle-hunting poodles. He presents a world well worth the visit"
– Mark Kurlansky
"I always love a truffle book – and this one is a terrific addition to the oeuvre – but what is special about Truffle Hound is its investigation of many truffles from many places. For all those who think of truffles in binary terms, as in T. melanosporum (black truffles) and T. magnatum (white truffles), Truffle Hound will be a revelation"
– Eugenia Bone, author of Mycophilia and contributor to Fantastic Fungi (the film and the book)