When the restaurant began, San Francisco was really getting crapola truffles. They were flown to New York, picked over, and then sent here. So it wasn’t hard to come up with the idea of bringing them in ourselves — the truffles were really that poor.
So every year I went to Italy, in part to supply our Truffle Dinners. We ended up with really good relationships and superior truffles with very good prices — which we continue to enjoy, despite the fact that last year and this year, I’ve been unable to go, due to my responsibilities with Community Grains. It’s truly been heart wrenching because it’s something I love. I love seeing my friends. I love the adventure. I’ve been doing it for years so I’ve formed my own intimate relationship with Italy.
But amongst all the things I love and am missing, there are things that I’m not going to miss. I don’t miss getting into spats with Italian customs inspectors; I don’t miss having to get off the plane after spying my truffles abandoned on the tarmac (having been ordered off by the pilot, who feared, due to their smell, that my baggage contained illicit substances); I don’t miss worrying that I won’t be able to get back in time for Truffle Dinners.
Getting on a plane from Italy with my pricy quarry was something I learned to meet with trepidation. But still, there is nothing like going on a truffle hunt with very good friends, prying golden truffles from deep within the earth. And when Truffle Dinners roll around, and the aroma of truffles — as good as ever — rise from my plate, so will my memories of all the things I love about Italy.
We look forward to seeing you for Truffle Dinners!