Dimethylsulphide is one of the main volatiles that make truffles attractive to humans, as well as confusing sows into believing that there might be a boar buried at the root of an old oak tree. We swoon because the scent is very hard to define, whilst being utterly compelling. It is pungent, multi-dimensional and passes on its smelly charms to almost anything it touches. For the old sow, it’s time to get the piggy lippy out: she is confusing the odour with the pheromones of a randy boar.
In truth, by the time the sow has unearthed the truffle, she may well want to eat it, making dogs a better snout for the job. A well trained sniffer dog in Alba is worth its weight. In 2010 a single truffle, of the finest kind, was sold for $330, 000. Ouch!
And those truffles always come from Alba. They are the most expensive for two reasons: they are the most fabulous…and they cannot be cultivated…ever.
My latest junket to Italy was to my favourite region: Piemonte. Not only do they control the source of the greatest white truffles on earth, they also have the cuisine skills, and the wine, to match.
The pictures you see on this blog cannot do the placid, breathtaking beauty of this region justice. It is not only truffle season (although my presence there was merely coincidence) but it also November. The air is crystal clear, snow caps the Alps on the horizon, the north-facing vineyard slopes are dusted with snow and the sun is golden all day. It is pretty mind-blowing.
All this formed the backdrop to my trip to Barbaresco, Barolo and Il Cascinone, the latter being a hilltop bastillon to the gourmet lifestyle…as well as being a distinguished winery.
Whilst I wouldn’t expect you to be knocking out Uovo in Gabbia con Crema di Latte e Parmigiano al Tartufo Bianco d’Alba (a concoction of egg, cream, Parmesan and truffles) every day, it is one of the richly aromatic dishes that use said Alba gold, that really does demand a bottle of Barbaresco to wash it down.
My trip has yielded a few new wines to list, not least of which is a very fine bottle of Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Camp Gros Martinenga Barbaresco (why does it all have to be such a mouthful!). Watch this space for a trickle of that beautiful wine coming through. It is perfect with dimethylsulphide!
Like truffles, it ain’t cheap. But then neither are you.