Truffles — the kind that grow underground, not the chocolate confection — commonly sell for a couple thousand dollars a pound. For a long time, Oregon Truffle Festival founder Charles LeFevre says, if you wanted truffles for high-end culinary endeavors, they came from Europe. But Oregon has been making inroads in this industry, especially over the last decade or so.
For most of the last 200 years, truffles were gathered in the wild, but now more people are growing them. The techniques for gathering these delicacies include raking and using specially trained truffle dogs. LeFevre says unfortunately raking has yielded unripe truffles — which he says are not very tasty. But dogs help the gatherers identify the good ones.
He says the truffle festival he co-founded with his wife — now approaching its 10th year — attracts truffle aficionados from all over the world. LeFevre says he thinks truffles represent an intersection of sustainable tourism, agriculture, forestry and the artisan food scene.
Have you enjoyed truffles? What is it that makes them so delectable?