Joel Palmer House restaurant in Dayton, Oregon, where his son Chris is the chef, Jack is also the owner and chief producer of Oregon Truffle Oil, one of the few truffle oils on the market to use real truffles rather than test tube chemicals to produce its powerful flavor and aroma.
Last year I hunted white truffles with Jack. In the right habitat, coming across white truffles is about as challenging as finding chanterelles. Black truffles, on the other hand, require more skill. For one thing, unlike whites they blend in with the duff and dirt. Also, they tend to hang out a little deeper beneath the surface, requiring more digging (though sometimes you can find them poking right through the moss, as if coming up for a breath of air). And lastly, they just don't seem to be as numerous as whites.
That night we capped our successful truffle hunt with dinner back at the Joel Palmer House, where a Candy Cap Martini kicked off a mushroom hunter's feast, including Matsutake Chowder, Fungi Tart, Fillet of Beef with Porcini Sauce, and many other finely executed fungal delights washed down with excellent local Pinot Noirs.
I could get used to this Willamette Valley truffle hunting thing.