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Taming the Truffle: The History, Lore, and Science of the Ultimate Mushroom

By Ian R. Hall, Gordon T. Brown, and Alessandra Zambonelli

Provides both substantial information and evocative folklore.

Wine Spectator

Whether the world's best truffles are found in Piedmont or PĂ©rigord inspires impassioned debate, but the effects of dwindling supply and insatiable demand for the elusive, ultimate mushroom are unquestionable: prices through the roof, intrigue and deception, and ever more intensive efforts to cultivate. Here in the most comprehensive practical treatment of the gastronomic treasure to date, the art and science of the high-stakes pursuit come together. The authors describe the commercial species in detail along with their host plants, natural habitats, cultivation, and maintenance, pests and diseases, and harvesting with pigs, dogs, truffle flies, and even the electronic nose.

Media reviews

"The pleasure of truffles can be both gustatory and emotional; likewise, this book provides both substantial information and evocative folklore."

—Owen Dugan, Wine Spectator

"This fascinating, lavishly illustrated volume ... will keep the reader engrossed through site preparations, irrigation methods — and, yes, the actual tasting of the truffle."


"Filled with high-quality color photographs. The prose matches the elegant pictures nicely, even humorously at times, and takes the reader through the history of truffle hunting and cultivation. ... [It] would certainly attract all levels of mycologists from beginner through advanced, but it has the allure and witty prose to inveigle those who never imagined they could share our love and interest in fungi."

—Britt A. Bunyard, Fungi

"You should buy this book. ... It is pretty amazingly thoughtful and comprehensive and will surely become dirt-stained and probably also soiled by your truffle pig as you develop your empire. Really."

—Kathie Hodge, Cornell Mushroom Blog

"Aficionados, chefs, and cooking students can learn a lot here about these lords of the fungi realm."

—Mark Knoblauch, Booklist

"Even if you don't crave growing truffles, this informative and highly readable book reveals the fascinating mysteries, lore, and biology of this ultimate food better than any other book in English. It is a paragon of science written for the interested layperson."

—Jim Trappe, Gastronomica

"[The authors] reveal the state of the art and science of producing the 'ultimate mushroom' in a splendidly interesting and informative way. ... This book is outstanding."

—Jim Trappe, Inoculum

"I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a lovely, luxurious book with many pictures and drawings. That the authors have a wonderful sense of humor is evident in the writing."

—Kay Yount, Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas

"A fascinating new book."

—Cindy McNatt, Orange County Register

About the authors

Ian R. Hall

Ian R. Hall has traveled widely and his knowledge of mushroom cultivation is international in scope. His firm, Truffles & Mushrooms Consulting Ltd., aims to further the cultivation of edible ectomycorrhizal mushrooms. After his post-doctoral fellowship with Jim Gerdemann at Illinois University, Hall returned to New Zealand to work as an applied mycologist and plant pathologist with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF Technology).

Read more about Ian R. Hall

Gordon T. Brown

Gordon Brown has collaborated with Ian Hall on two books prior to Truffles, and is a freelance journalist as well as sub-editor for the Otago Daily Times in New Zealand. He and his wife run a proofreading and editing company, All Write NZ.

Read more about Gordon T. Brown

Alessandra Zambonelli

Alessandra Zambonelli is a foremost expert in Italy on truffles. She holds a PhD from the University of Bologna, where she teaches mycology and applied plant pathology. Zambonelli has published numerous articles on truffles and their cultivation, and is the president of the Italian Mycological Association.

Read more about Alessandra Zambonelli

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