What do they taste like? Garlicky, savory, smoky and chocolaty. These are just some of the ways people try to describe the taste of Oregon’s wild truffles — the subterranean fungi that thrive under Douglas fir trees during the winter.
“That’s the most common question I get, and it’s so hard to answer,” says Christopher Czarnecki, executive chef of The Joel Palmer House in Dayton, a restaurant that has built a reputation and a menu around wild mushrooms. “It’s like trying to describe chocolate to someone who’s never tasted it.”
The solution, it would seem, is to taste them for yourself, which you can do in January and February at the Oregon Truffle Festival. With events in Portland, Yamhill County and Eugene, the festival includes the truffle talent of local chefs with special meals and wine pairings as well as tastings, cooking classes and demonstrations. The events include Oregon star chefs, expert panels, foraging expeditions and truffle dog training.
For a feast of many tastes, check out the Oregon Truffle Marketplace in Newberg, Eugene and Oregon’s wine country with tastings, artisan foods, fresh truffles, a truffle dog presentation and cooking demonstrations.