The Truffle Underground: A Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and Manipulation in the Shadowy Market of the World's Most Expensive Fungus
By Ryan Jacobs (2019)
“The ultimate truffle true crime tale” (Bianca Bosker, New York Times best-selling author of Cork Dork) - a thrilling journey through the hidden underworld of the world's most prized luxury ingredient.
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 addictive exposé 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 exposé 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)
“In elegant, mesmerizing prose, Ryan Jacobs has delivered a forest-to-table page-turner from the outer limits of our foodie culture, a place where colorful farmers, serial dog murderers and famous chefs grapple over a crudely foraged fungus that's traded in parking lots and bars, like heroin. The Truffle Underground is an eye-opener for anyone who's picked up a fork.” (Steve Fainaru, New York Times best-selling author of League of Denial and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter)
The Truffle Underground
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