los angeles | Drink + Dine

Meet LA’s Hottest Hunters: The Truffle Brothers

October 20, 2014
Written by: Yasha Wallin

Nicknamed “diamonds of the kitchen,” Truffle mushrooms are among the most rare—and the most delicious—culinary ingredients. They are foraged around the world by expert “hunters” like the Truffle Brothers, Michael and Marco Pietroiacovo. The Italian siblings seasonally supply black and white truffles to LA’s top restaurants, like The Bazaar by José Andrés at SLS Beverly Hills, who will offer an exclusive 16-course white truffle experience in SAAM from October 23 – November 22. To prep for this dining adventure and learn more about these magical mushrooms, we caught up with the Truffle Brothers below.

How do you “hunt” for truffles?

Some places use pigs for truffle hunting, but Truffle Brothers’ tactic is to have the best-trained dogs get the best truffles (hence the Truffle Brothers logo). If you have trained dogs hunt as opposed to pigs, you will save some of the most beautiful truffles, since dogs stop themselves from eating or scratching them.

Where can we find truffles?

About 70% of white and black truffles come from Molise and Abruzzo areas, from the Appennino mountains. However, you can find truffles anywhere in Italy from North to South-Central regions.

What does a truffle look like?

 Many people confuse truffles with the chocolate. Truffles are actually a mushroom-type. A good truffle has good weight, great aroma, nice color, average size, good hardness and shape.

Why are white truffles more expensive than black truffles?

Fresh white truffles are the most expensive variety, averaging between $1,600 to $3,000 per pound. White truffle season is from the end of September through January. During this time of year Italy is most likely to experience high levels of rain and snow. Therefore, it is more difficult to find white truffles; resulting an increase in price per pound. White truffles can be found in other places around the world. However, the Italian white truffles are considered to be superior because of their taste and quality.

How should we eat our truffles?

Truffles can be combined with eggs (scrambled, a frittata, sunny-side-up, etc.), risotto, pasta, pizza, fish. Or shave them on top of peas, beans, or fava beans. Truffles can go with simple dishes, but the best way to go is by being creative and experimenting with truffle dishes. Any type of truffle (black or white) will most definitely enrich any dish you decide to make!

The annual White Truffle Dinner Series at The Bazaar by José Andrés at SLS Beverly Hills is available Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from October 23 – November 22. $350 per guest, with wine pairing options available. Don’t forget to book HERE or call (310) 773-5460 as space is limited!