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

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Timber Press, 2007 - Art - 304 pages
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Whether the world's best truffles are found in Piedmont or Perigord 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.

The secrets of when, how, and where to collect truffles have benn passed from generation to generation since ancient times, but artificial cultivation remains the holy grail. Here in the most comprehensive practical treatment of the gastronomic treasure to date, the art and science of the high-stakes pursuit come together.

Their enthusiasm and expertise leavened with wry humor, the authors explore the newest techniques; they describe the commercial species in detail along with their host plants, natural habitats, cultivation and mintenance, pests and diseases, and harvesting with pigs, dogs, truffle flies, and even the electronic nose.

Pursuit of the fungus that costs more than gold is not for the faint of heart nor for those in a hurry, as under ideal conditions, truffle production in artificial truffieres can begin after three years but results may not be seen until a decade after planting, and maximum yields not for another decade still. So there is time to read and prepare, and no better source than this one.

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About the author (2007)

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. He also directs the activities of Symbiotic Systems N.Z. Ltd, a company that studies the beneficial effects of mycorrhizas in forestry. Hall has published on a variety of topics in addition to edible mushrooms and mycorrhizas, including the pathology of grasses oversown into tussock grasslands and greenhouse design. He completed his PhD at New Zealand's Otago University, where he studied with Geoff Baylis. 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).

Gordon Brown has collaborated with Ian Hall on two books prior to "Taming the Truffle".

Alessandra Zambonelli is a foremost Italian expert on truffles. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Bologna, where she teaches mycology and applied plant pathology. Widely published, Zambonelli is the president of the Italian Mycological Association.

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