Truffle Hound: On the Trail of the World’s Most Seductive Scent, with Dreamers, Schemers, and Some Extraordinary Dogs

Rowan Jacobsen. Bloomsbury, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-63557-519-4
James Beard Award–winning author Jacobsen (A Geography of Oysters) captivates with this dual narrative, both an eloquent and sensuous treatise on truffles and the enthralling story of his obsessive quest to learn everything there is to know about them. His love affair begins in the Piedmont region of Italy, at the peak of truffle season, where he smelled a white truffle for the first time. One whiff of the intoxicating aroma set him off on a passionate pursuit to learn more about the unassuming fungi: “I’d never understood the truffle thing, and now, suddenly, I had to.” From a nighttime truffle hunt with a famous trifulau (“as truffle hunters are called in Piedmont”) and a potentially illicit transaction in a hotel lobby to learning about the “false, misleading, and deceptive misbranding” of truffle oil in the U.S. and beyond, Jacobsen offers a thrilling dive into the secretive and lucrative world “of this subterranean wonder.” The real delicacy here, though, is the arresting prose used to convey his reverence and awe: “Slice open a truffle and you’ll see a beautifully marbled interior with a fine honeycomb of white veins... [that] produce[s] a dumbfounding cocktail of aromatic compounds.... No words can do justice to the scent of a white truffle.” While that may be true, Jacobsen definitely comes close. Agent: Angela Miller, Miller Bowers Literary Management. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/19/2021
Release date: 10/05/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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