The Return of Autumn’s Greatest Gift

Tales from the Truffle Trade – Chapter 1

Oliveto Truffle Dinners November 13 to 17, 2018

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Some things don’t change:

  • Italian white truffles remain one of the world’s most wonderful intoxicants.
  • White Truffles are mysterious—they’ve never been farmed successfully.
  • The Oliveto Truffle Dinners are always the week before Thanksgiving. There’s a reason:

The Italian truffle fairs in Alba and many villages in Tuscany and Umbria begin in October and are pretty much gone by the second week in November, along with the tourists. Prices come down and quality usually improves with colder weather. And we’ve never wanted to compete with Christmas shopping. Hence this year the dinners are November 13 to 17.

Somewhat consumed by our new business, Community Grains, I no longer have the two weeks it takes to seek out truffles myself. Instead, we’ve found a trusted source to take over. We will, as always, offer the very best fresh truffles at the very best price, accompanied by Chef Jonah and Sous Chef Brian’s exceptional menu.

I’ve had such wonderful times sourcing truffles . . . experiencing great adventures and collecting exciting stories every year. Early on, before connecting with our beloved friends, truffle hunter Giorgio Sacchini and family, things were rather dicey. Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote seventeen years ago for the LA Times—a trip down memory lane.


The Return of Fall’s Luxuries
Tales from the Truffle Trade
November 07, 2001 | BOB KLEIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
I’ve never been a drug dealer, but a truffle trader has to be the closest of relatives. You drive down the lonely country roads of a foreign land, money bulging from every pocket, suspicious of any cars behind you, ready to take evasive action if required. You arrive at a nondescript storefront and pass into a featureless back room with a small precise scale. The merchandise is removed from a ragged kitchen towel. You scan the faces of the two or three men in the room, sniff and examine the goods and make the deal. Fistfuls of cash change hands. Upon your return to the States, the government’s drug-sniffing dog jumps all over you, and the metaphor is complete.


Truffle Dinners remain a favorite here. Menu to follow, as well as more… Tales from the Truffle Trade.

Giorgio’s haul for the day – truffles from 40 to 10 grams


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