The Truffle Underground : A Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and Manipulation in the Shadowy Market of the World's Most Expensive Fungus
by Ryan Jacobs


Overview - "The ultimate truffle true crime tale"*: A thrilling journey through the hidden underworld of the world's most prized luxury ingredient.

*Bianca Bosker, New York Times bestselling author of Cork Dork

Beneath the gloss of star chefs and crystal-laden tables, the truffle supply chain is touched by theft, secrecy, sabotage, and fraud. Farmers patrol their fields with rifles and fear losing trade secrets to spies. Hunters plant poisoned meatballs to eliminate rival truffle-hunting dogs. Naive buyers and even knowledgeable experts are duped by liars and counterfeits.

Deeply reported and elegantly written, this page-turning expos documents the dark, sometimes deadly crimes at each level of the truffle's path from ground to plate, making sense of an industry that traffics in scarcity, seduction, and cash. Through it all, a question lingers: What, other than money, draws people to these dirt-covered jewels?

Praise for The Truffle Underground

"Investigative journalist and first-time author Jacobs does a remarkable job reporting from the front lines of the truffle industry, bringing to vivid life French black-truffle farmers, Italian white-truffle foragers, and their marvelously well-trained dogs."--Booklist (starred review)

"In The Truffle Underground, Ryan Jacobs presents a lively expos of the truffle industry, reporting on the crimes that 'haunt the whole supply chain.' . . . Even if truffles are beyond your pay grade, there is plenty of enjoyment to be had in the sheer devilment portrayed in this informative and appetizing book."--The Wall Street Journal

"You'll never look at truffle fries the same way after reading this book. . . . You can practically smell the soil as you follow truffle farmers and bandits through the groves and fields of France and Italy where the fungi are harvested and stolen."--Outside, "Five Favorite Summer Reads"

" The] book is a rigorously reported, carefully written, endlessly interesting immersion in a high-stakes subculture."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Jacobs takes us on an eye-opening journey through the prized mushroom's supply chain and the global black market for these tubers in this tale of theft, deceit, and high-stakes secrets."--Real Simple

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More About The Truffle Underground by Ryan Jacobs
 
 
 
Overview
"The ultimate truffle true crime tale"*: A thrilling journey through the hidden underworld of the world's most prized luxury ingredient.

*Bianca Bosker, New York Times bestselling author of Cork Dork

Beneath the gloss of star chefs and crystal-laden tables, the truffle supply chain is touched by theft, secrecy, sabotage, and fraud. Farmers patrol their fields with rifles and fear losing trade secrets to spies. Hunters plant poisoned meatballs to eliminate rival truffle-hunting dogs. Naive buyers and even knowledgeable experts are duped by liars and counterfeits.

Deeply reported and elegantly written, this page-turning expos documents the dark, sometimes deadly crimes at each level of the truffle's path from ground to plate, making sense of an industry that traffics in scarcity, seduction, and cash. Through it all, a question lingers: What, other than money, draws people to these dirt-covered jewels?

Praise for The Truffle Underground

"Investigative journalist and first-time author Jacobs does a remarkable job reporting from the front lines of the truffle industry, bringing to vivid life French black-truffle farmers, Italian white-truffle foragers, and their marvelously well-trained dogs."--Booklist (starred review)

"In The Truffle Underground, Ryan Jacobs presents a lively expos of the truffle industry, reporting on the crimes that 'haunt the whole supply chain.' . . . Even if truffles are beyond your pay grade, there is plenty of enjoyment to be had in the sheer devilment portrayed in this informative and appetizing book."--The Wall Street Journal

"You'll never look at truffle fries the same way after reading this book. . . . You can practically smell the soil as you follow truffle farmers and bandits through the groves and fields of France and Italy where the fungi are harvested and stolen."--Outside, "Five Favorite Summer Reads"

" The] book is a rigorously reported, carefully written, endlessly interesting immersion in a high-stakes subculture."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Jacobs takes us on an eye-opening journey through the prized mushroom's supply chain and the global black market for these tubers in this tale of theft, deceit, and high-stakes secrets."--Real Simple

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780451495693
  • ISBN-10: 0451495691
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter Publishers
  • Publish Date: June 2019
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.65 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Cooking > Essays & Narratives
Books > Cooking > History
Books > Business & Economics > Industries - Food Industry

 
BookPage Reviews

The Truffle Underground

Murder. Fraud. Poison. These are words typically associated with a suspenseful mystery novel, not an edible fungus. But in his riveting debut, The Truffle Underground, Pacific Standard deputy editor Ryan Jacobs weaves the fascinating scientific and historical backstory of the elusive culinary delicacy known as truffles with the stealthy feel of a diamond heist or spy operation. 

Truffles are one of the most revered wonders of the gastronomic world. Although they’re found all over the globe, it’s the black winter variety, also known as black diamond or black pearl, that is especially rare, lusted after by thieves as much as valuable jewelry. The French countryside is one of their richest places of origin, nestled within the roots of oak and hazelnut trees in the Périgord region. Jacobs’ years covering international crime as an investigative reporter translate perfectly, as he drills down into the inner workings of the truffle underground. 

Jacobs follows the truffle from spore to plate, a journey “fraught with so much biological uncertainty, human competition, and logistical headaches that a single shaving could be understood as a testament to the wonder of human civilization.” His in-depth research not only focuses on the present day but also covers how truffle farming came to be so secretive, exclusive and competitive. It’s an uncertain process that requires specific conditions and timing, made all the more difficult by today’s changing climate. And when truffles do form, their appearance is random, unearthed by specially trained dogs with the keenest of scent glands. 

Truffle thieves are aware of all these factors and run their operations accordingly. Jacobs discusses the intricate details of this corruption, from the young recruits, middlemen and fraudsters to the detectives, law enforcement officials and restaurant owners who badly need this gastronomic gold to stay competitive. The Truffle Underground is an eye--opening tale that brings to light the fact that food items can be just as valuable as any other goods, especially when harvests are uncertain. As fittingly noted by Jacobs, “It’s a medieval undertaking in a smartphone world.”

 
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