Truffle porn: black gold or lunar cow dung? @TonyVallone

I just had to share these photos that I snapped yesterday for my friend and client Tony in Houston.

That plate of Umbrian black truffles was destined for a private party at the restaurant Tony’s last night.

Click the images for high res versions.

After our weekly meeting, Tony treated me to his housemade tagliolini tossed with sautéed eggplant and zucchine and then topped with shaved truffles.

Life could be worse, couldn’t it? ;)

The undisputed queen of truffle porn

Anyone who writes a line like “nobody knows the truffles I’ve seen” should be given a Pulitzer prize for poetry!

Tracie B and I did a spit-take this morning during our Sunday-morning-coffee-and-tandem-blogging-and-Facebooking ritual when the author of Truffle Hunter Italy commented on my blog.

I don’t know who s/he is or what inspired the seemingly Italocentric blog but I love it… nothing like a little truffle porn on a Sunday morning to make the mimetic desire kick in! ahem…

Black truffle porn and a great wine from Montenegro

truffle porn

Above: Scorched earth, lunar landscape, extraterrestrial poop? No, black truffles from Umbria. The surface reminds me of the cratered earth you see in Tuscany and Umbria when they till the land.

Yesterday, found me “working the market” with colleagues in Houston, pouring and talking about wines, meeting with sommeliers and wine buyers, and being extremely well fed by some of Houstons top restaurateurs. One of the city’s top gourmets let me take this snap of his black truffle booty. I’ll post on the fantastic lunch he prepared for me and cousin Marty on Monday.


One of the cool things about what I do for a living is what I like to call the “collegiality” of the wine biz. When I met with one of the top Italian wine buyers in this country, Joseph “Grappa Joe” Kemble, who buys Italian wines for behemoth retailer Specs, he invited me to taste a fantastic wine from Montenegro, made froma grape I’d never tasted nor heard of before, Vranac or Vranec by a winery called Plantaže.

I really dug this juice: it was earthy, with a light goudron note on the nose, balanced alcohol at 12%, and gentle red fruit in the mouth. I’ve never been to Montenegro and I really don’t know much about how the wine is grown or produced, but it had that “original” quality to it, that uniqueness that makes me believe it speaks of the land where it’s made and the people who make it.

Thanks, Grappa Joe! Keep on selling that Italian juice the way you do! (You should hear the guys on his team quote all 12 Calabrian appellations like baseball stats! I only would have got about 6 off the top of my head!)