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Once the exclusive preserve of the kitchens of kings, now truffles are available to anyone with a pig, a dog, a deep wallet or a highly developed olfactory organ. The nose knows, you see. The golden nose will find the truffle and dine out for months on tales of underground prowess in solving the cultivation mystery of the magical vegetable. Half root, half mushroom, the truffle is crown prince of the underground, and because they give off the same odor as the male hormone testosterone, that's where our trained animal associates come in. They know the score, know what's worth hunting for. It's about priorities, and this volume is absolutely on the same track. Not so much a book as a hymn to the truffle experience, it's all here. Learn how the Romans esteemed the big T, follow its progress across the plates of centuries, gaze at the mouth-moistening pictures, and then put your boots on and start looking. Truffle heaven is here. With all-courses recipes from leading truffle-meister Patrick Jaros, who's worked with Munich superchef Eckhart Witzigmann, you too can be a gourmet god. Forget the Lottery, forget the holy grail, somewhere there are truffles with your name on. The Gold Rush has nothing on this.
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Hardback complete with dust cover, little signs of use. This item donated, proceeds to hospice.Review:
The Joy of Truffles is a whole lot more than a cookbook, though it does include recipes. It's a beautiful tribute to one of the most exulted ingredients: the truffle. The truffle's name stems from the fact that it sets up home--inconsiderately--some five to 30 centimetres deep in the ground and causes the surface above it to rise slightly, a lifting that medieval people came to describe with the Latin term "terrae tuffolae". Written in a chatty, informal style, The Joy of Truffles describes the history of truffles, truffle hunting, and truffle markets, the most famous being in Lalbenque (France) and Alba (Italy). And if you don't have a truffle snuffling pig, goat or dog, the book gives good instructions on how to find the fungi yourself. If you happen to be in the right spot in Italy or France, just lie down on the ground and look for "Suillia" flies, which often lay their eggs above truffles. Incidentally, truffles get their distinctive smell from a substance called testosterase, which is almost identical to the sexual hormone testosterone. The Joy of Truffles is beautifully photographed and the colour photographs of food are good enough to frame. The recipes range from Ceci alla Piemontese (Cabbage Stew with ChickPeas and White Truffles) to Foie de veau à le Boulangère (Slices of Calves' Liver with Glazed Shallots and Périgord Truffle Sauce). But at the risk of spoiling your appetite, it's important to remember that truffles don't come cheap. At £1,000 kilogram, truffles are not the sort of ingredient you want to waste. And if they are just too expensive for you, buy The Joy of Truffles instead--at around £15 it's almost a give-away. --Dale Kneen
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