For the Love of Truffles: Join Us at the Oregon Truffle Festival’s Fresh Truffle Marketplace

Beneath the rich soil of Oregon’s coastal range and Cascade Mountains is a hidden world of domestic truffles flourishing along the root system of our state tree, the Douglas fir. Though it’s existed for hundreds of years, this culinary delicacy is only now beginning to gain the recognition it deserves, laying the groundwork for Oregon’s latest claim as the heart of North America’s truffle industry.

As a local market, we value the abundance of natural resources in our state, and we’re always seeking opportunities in the development of Oregon enterprise. That’s why we are honored to lend our support, in partnership with the Oregon Truffle Festival, to the Fresh Truffle Marketplace hosted by Oregon State University in Corvallis on February 19th, 2023.

Here are some fun facts about truffles, and information about the Oregon Truffle Festival (OTF) and Fresh Truffle Marketplace (FTM) to further pique your interest in joining us for this momentous event!

Oregon Truffle Festival

Images provided by the Oregon Truffle Festival.

What is a Truffle?

We love to eat them, but how much do we really know about truffles? These culinary gems are the fruiting bodies of underground fungus that help to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between fungi and their host plant. Heavy rainfall and fertile soil offer ideal conditions for truffles to grow and thrive on the roots of our beloved firs.

What do Truffles Taste Like?

The pungent aroma tantalizes the senses and draws you in with curious excitement. Flavors vary widely between individual fruits, making the taste difficult to place. Some will exude a garlic-like aroma and flavor, while others lean toward the fruity.

Perhaps the best description comes from world-renowned truffle expert, Dr. Charles Lefevre who says, “Truffles are more of an experience than a taste,” Noting the variance between individual truffles, even within the same terroir.

“The white truffle aroma enters your sinuses, swirls around your head and it’s kind of magical. The experience in food is that it adds electricity. The Oregon black truffle has a fruity, pineapple-type of aroma. At their best, black truffles are like bright, happy, sweet tropical fruits,” Dr. Lefevre says.

How are Truffles Sourced?

As they ripen, truffles emit a powerful aroma that can be detected above ground by many types of scavenging animals. You may be familiar with the truffle hunting pig, made infamous by the Nicolas Cage thriller, Pig. However, mycologists agree that dogs are more commonly used for truffle hunting because they are less likely than pigs to devour the truffles before they can be collected. Dogs are so suitable for the task that, with minimal training, nearly any breed can be a successful truffle hunter. But, before you grab your best friend and head for the hills, you should know that caring for, and preserving truffles is a delicate process because they quickly lose their potency once they are harvested. This is why truffles are so expensive to buy.

What is the Oregon Truffle Festival?

The Oregon Truffle Festival is both a non-profit organization, and one of the nation’s most esteemed culinary events dedicated to supporting Oregon’s native truffles, and to the cultivation of European varieties within the state. The OTF has been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New York Times, Saveur and National Geographic among others. For the past fifteen years, the OTF has been educating farmers, land owners, harvesters, truffle dog trainers, chefs and consumers about the many nuanced aspects of native truffles and truffle cultivation–while furthering ongoing mycology research at Oregon State University. The OTF is now beginning the process of cultivating Italian and French truffles in Oregon soil as the climate is well adapted to the famous French Burgundy and Périgord truffles.

What is the Fresh Truffle Marketplace?

The Fresh Truffle Marketplace is where truffle lovers can experience and purchase Oregon-made gourmet foods–such as chocolates, cheeses, cooking oils and more–all crafted with native truffles. Guests may also enjoy local wine, craft beer and spirits to complement their truffle selections. The FTM provides an opportunity for local makers to showcase all the potential that Oregon truffles have to offer through their well-crafted products. This year’s event is made even more special, as it will be the first time in two years that the Marketplace is held in-person rather than online. If you are a truffle aficionado (or aspiring to be), you won’t want to miss this event!

How to Enjoy Truffles

If we had to choose one word to describe the joy of truffles, it would be versatility. The culinary possibilities are vast and ever-evolving, from fresh truffle shavings over a burger, to elaborate entrees crafted with layers of truffle-infused ingredients.

Every successful truffle recipe or infusion begins with fresh, fully ripened and properly harvested truffles paired with the right sweet or savory ingredients. Creamy dishes like risotto provide the perfect stage to reveal the delicious potential of truffles. This is because truffles are fat soluble, so they are ideal for infusing oils, butters and creams.

Modern cuisine has unearthed amazing flavors by combining unexpected ingredients with truffles in new dishes that delight the taste buds. These gems are even finding their way into condiments like Joey’s Hot Sauce which mixes wild Oregon truffles with organic peppers and spices to create a fresh new experience in traditional hot sauce. Fresh and creamy avocados also pair astonishingly well with truffles, the flavors of both complementing one another flawlessly. Charles Lefevre recommends getting creative and bold with truffles in the kitchen.

Oregon Truffle Festival

Images provided by the Oregon Truffle Festival.