Cover Image: Truffle Hound

Truffle Hound

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A love letter to truffles and those who hunt and eat them, from an author who became obsessed himself. Jacobsen's nonfiction account of sniffing a real white truffle for the first time, and his subsequent delve into the world of truffle hunters, is an engrossing read. It's more like a collection of essays than a single narrative, but very entertaining. This will appeal to readers who enjoy food writing, microhistories, and travelogues.
Was this review helpful?
Truffle Hound by Rowan Jacobsen is an enthralling and engrossing read with a great plot and characters! Well worth the read
Was this review helpful?
Truffle Hound by Rowan Jacobsen is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early August.

Jacobsen carries a very similar on-the-ground tone as Michael Pollan, but can lean heavy on the passion, awe, and adoration of something quite a bit more. However, they're quite the tale weaver while evoking scenes in Italy, Kentucky, Washington state, Oregon, and the Appalachians of truffle hunters using trained dogs in lieu of pigs, imbibing the scent of a truffle, listing off the sheer amount of truffle-related production (all carrying a hefty pricetag) and happening upon other, perhaps equally mad aficionados and purveyors, whose families and fraternities go back several years.
Was this review helpful?
I signed up to review this book because I know little about truffles, but do enjoy dogs, and thought this sounded very interesting. What a fun read! I learned so much about truffles and the places where they are found. The book even includes recipes. All around a delight!
Was this review helpful?
Amazingly comprehensive and entertaining book! I was able to visit Istria, Croatia during Truffle season where I had my first taste of real truffles. I've been hooked ever since. This book took me right back there and it was so fun reading about places I've been! Beyond that, this book taught me everything I ever wanted to know about the world of truffles. It even has recipes and resources in the back of the book. What a gem!
Was this review helpful?
Where to begin?!  To a rabid truffle lover who enjoys truffle hunting, this unmissable book is absolutely sublime!  Written in a witty and engaging style and resplendent with tradition, culture and information, this is a must read for anyone remotely interested in this beguiling fungi.  Though I know a ton about truffles, I learned a lot here.  Amazing, amazing stuff.  Though non fiction, the writing flows conversationally, definitely NOT textbookish.  The author travels all over to discover truffles for himself and the book is chock full of his brilliant and often amusing adventures.  

Truffles are like nothing else on the planet.  When asked to describe the aroma, taste and texture words fail me.  The aroma is mysterious, elusive, foresty, earthy, intoxicating and pure magic (though you can't taste magic, this is an exception); the texture reminiscent of sliced almonds and the taste is mild but glorious.  The aroma is evocative and transportive and brings tears to my eyes.  No joke.  I love that the author uses descriptions of several people to convey their experiences.  He describes mycorrhiza which is crucial to the understanding of truffles.  He also discusses fake truffle products, truffle dogs (I love the prevalence of dogs here!), truffle festivals, where and how they grow, "mating types", different species and even includes mouthwatering recipes!  

Much of my truffle experience is from Istria, Croatia but have enjoyed eating truffles in other countries.  However, to me nothing compares to the Tuber magnatum pico or Istrian white truffle which is harvested September to January.  I live part time in Istria and cannot get enough of this fungi, especially with lightly-scrambled eggs, shaved over pasta and with fresh late figs drizzled with honey and walnuts, served with fresh cheeses. Always, always raw.  The author includes a recipe for truffled duck which is divine with black truffles. The Beet Carpaccio with Truffles and Walnuts looks breathtaking as well.  For the curious, festivals are excellent and these are highlighted as well.

The Oregon Grand Truffle Dinner is fascinating to read about.  So is the information about the truffles which grow in Australia where lime must be added to the soil.  They can even grow in comparatively cold Quebec!  As the author says, it is about finding the right techniques for your area.  But the best bits to me are those where the author spends time hunting and harvesting with locals.  My first experience was during the dead of night with a hunter who had never taken anyone hunting before.  He spoke no English but that didn't prevent us from enjoying it.  Hunters' passion, enthusiasm and pride are infectious which is the experience of the author, too.

My sincere thank you to Bloomsbury USA and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this awesome and wondrous book!  I could not have loved it more.
Was this review helpful?
An interesting non-fiction book.  This is a world tour of everything you could ever want to know about truffles ... and it includes the United States.  And then the book includes recipes ... mouthwatering recipes (that are also fun to read!).

I like a bit of non-fiction in my reading rotation.  I consider myself a foodie, I like dogs; sounded perfect.  And then I quickly came to the realization that I knew NOTHING about truffles, so it was an informative, interesting read filled with unique characters.  

Enjoy the book, keep it for the recipes! And the index contains all sorts of truffle related contact information.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author Rowan Jacobsen and the publisher Bloomsbury USA/Bloomsbury Publishing; for the opportunity to review Truffle Hound in exchange for an honest review.  Publication date is expected to be 05 Oct 2021.

Chapter 14 would abruptly end iphone text to speech at the end of every other page.  But only this chapter.

I'd love to buy some inoculated trees.  I'll have to determine my soil ph.  Not sure that I'm going to have truckloads of limestone brought in.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book!  So, after college, I worked in various restaurant kitchens and I already knew a tiny bit about truffles and the fascination with them.  Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the taste am at a complete loss as to why one would spend thousands of dollars on one, but nevertheless here we are.  Exclusivity breeds excess.  I digress.  This was a fascinating, in-depth, well written and fun account of the search (and history of) for truffles.  I enjoyed it very much and look forward to buying my own hard copy!
Was this review helpful?
A great book about food informs you, excites you, and inspires you to learn more - Rowan Jacobsen's Truffle Hound does exactly that. This book follows Jacobsen across the world as he learns about truffles - different varieties, how they're grown, who farms/forages for them, whether or not the truffle oil we see at the supermarket has any real truffle in it, who runs 'Big Truffle,' etc., 

If you're a casual foodie, you're probably somewhat familiar with truffles. They're expensive, they've got a strong odor, and they have a reputation for being one of the most luxurious foods out there. As we meet different truffle experts throughout the book, we learn that the world of truffles is far more vast than this expensive/smelly stereotype. Sure, there are very official and serious truffle companies in Italy and France, but there are also people in Croatia trying to revitalize their hometown's agrotourism market with truffles. Heck, there are a few innovative farms experimenting with new growth techniques in the US!

When I tend to read books about food, I err more towards memoir and avoid books with lots of history. Sometimes it reads too dry, too removed from the rest of the story. This book was a pleasant surprise in that regard; Jacobsen deftly moved between personal experience, journalistic profiling, and recapping significant points in history.

If I have any critique, it's that the end felt a little rushed. I wanted to spend more time with the author as he experimented with truffle hunting, just as we had spent time with farmers and foragers earlier in the book. This is a very minor quibble, though.

Thank you to to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
*This book was received as an Advanced Reviewer's Copy from NetGalley.

Most people go crazy for truffles.  It's just a fact (and I know some of you are reading this and going, uh no, it's disgusting; but well, the majority like it, so I'm sticking with it's just a fact).  There's something primal, earthy about the taste that we can't get enough of.  Or at least I thought.  Turns out most of the truffle experiences we've had have been added chemicals to produce scent or flavor as a lot of truffles themselves don't have long shelf lives.  Sure, you can find some products out there (and Jacobsen provides a nice resource reference at the end for this; alas the one I was going to order from was out of stock), but they're not the easiest to get outside of fine dining.

But that's ok, this book helps you identify and recognize not only pure products (and I should say I'm not disparaging the added flavor/scent chemicals, I'll take those on my popcorn any day), but also understand the history of the truffle industry and just why they command the price that they do.

He takes us through many different countries and practices, from Italy, to France, to Croatia and other surprising areas.  My favorite chapter was the one about the USA and while homegrown truffles haven't really been on the menu (hopefully changing).  Especially since a very special truffle is found in my region (if one has the dog to help find it that is).  Whiel this information can get kind of repetitive between chapters (go to country, follow dog, hear how it's not been a great truffle year), the underlying information itself was good and I really got a better sense of all the questions and lore surrounding truffles.

I also like that there were some breaks in between this to talk about the research and development (inoculated truffle trees) used for trying to farm truffles; a traditionally difficult task.

This is definitely a book for either those who love truffles or those who love food history/origin stories. 

Review by M. Reynard 2021
Was this review helpful?
Date reviewed/posted: June 6, 2021
Publication date: October 5, 2021

When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #thirdwave ( #fourthwave #fifthwave?) is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. Plus it is hot as all heck and nothing is more appealing than sitting in front of a fan with a kindle.!

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

From the beloved, James Beard-award-winning author of The Geography of Oysters comes a revelatory, captivating exploration into the secretive and sensuous world of truffles, the elusive food that has captured hearts, imaginations, and palates worldwide.

The scent of one freshly unearthed white truffle in Barolo was all it took to lead Rowan Jacobsen down a rabbit hole into a world of secretive hunts, misty woods, black-market deals, obsessive chefs, quixotic scientists, muddy dogs, maddening smells, and some of the most memorable late-night meals ever created.

Truffles attract dreamers, schemers, and sensualists. People spend years training dogs to find them underground. They plant entire forests of oaks and wait a decade for truffles to appear. They pay $3,000 a pound to possess them. They turn into quivering puddles in their presence. Why?

Truffle Hound is the fascinating account of Rowan's quest to find out, a journey that would lead him from Italy to Istria, Hungary, Spain, England, and North America. Both an entertaining odyssey and a manifesto, Truffle Hound demystifies truffles—and then remystifies them. It helps people understand why they respond so strongly, shows them there’s more to truffles than they ever imagined, and gives them all the tools they need to take their own truffle love to the next level. Deeply informed, unabashedly passionate, rakishly readable, Truffle Hound will spark America’s next great culinary passion. 

I am one of the rare people who ate anything truffle - I love mushrooms but have these umami bombs. It was interesting to read about them, though, and the book is well written to be appealable to all foodies out there. It is funny as heck and I can see my former french coworker losing his ... truffle ... over this book as it is right up his alley, for sure.

Darn..what was that movie where the girl knew the guy was breaking up with her so had about $5000 worth of truffle put on her meal before he did it??

I will also recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, book clubs, and people reading books in the park as we do … I have had some of my best conversations about books down by the Thames and food is a common topic for most people!

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube  Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕
Was this review helpful?