Here's one to ponder: If you were to go truffle hunting in the wilds of Le Marche -- Amandola, to be precise -- which Seinfeld character would you take along? Kramer? Hell no. Jerry, George, Elaine? Nehhhh.
It's a short list, indeed.
Ok, what about J. Peterman? Ah, now you're talking. The intrepid outdoor clothing designer would surely be the perfect companion as you slide down a mucky hillside into a dense forest following over-excited hounds (possibly sporting a wine-induced hangover).
Yes, J. Peterman himself was in Amandola this fall about the same time Eric, Michael and I , accompanied by local experts, went foraging through the woods in search of the elusive Tuber magnatum pico. That's white truffle to you and me. We came up empty, but were later rewarded with a memorable feast.
And J. Peterman. Well, he writes here:
I was waiting out in the cold and humid air for a couple of minutes when an oversized and scruffy white poodle with an expert pink nose came loping toward me ahead of the local truffle hunters. Soon we were off to look for all-but-impossible-to-find white truffles, known for their sharp, distinctive peppery flavor.
(You can almost imagine actor John O'Hurley narrating this to a completely bored Elaine)
Now some setting:
This time I'm in The Marches, the part of Italy due east of Florence. It's true that Piedmont, far to the north, is the best-known white truffle region in the world. But with more and more of the forests where these addictive tubers thrive turned into vineyards, the region is becoming more of a market for truffle buyers and sellers than a territory for hunters. I admit I'm a buyer when that's my only option. But I prefer the hunt.
and how'd he fare? Being J. Peterman, eureka!
She [the dog, Dora] finds two smaller ones before we call it a day. The nearby town is called Amandola, and a few hours later it's dinnertime at one of the village's trattorie, a fire raging in the corner. Soon, the plain cooked fettuccini we ordered will arrive and we'll transform it with a few delicate shavings from our afternoon hunt. There's a bottle of the local Sangiovese on the table between us. Dora's owner ordered the wine, saying it was simple enough to get out of the way and let the truffles be the star. As if anything tonight could upstage our hard-won treasure.
And what about Eric, Michael and I? Nuthin! We'll score some next year. Promesso
A special shout out to ISB reader, Tigers fan and fellow hunter Eric. He spotted the article yesterday while on his daily giro through the celebrity gossip pages.