One perk to the Pacific Northwest's winter rain: Truffles. And those precious fungi get their very own celebration, as the 10th Annual Oregon Truffle Festival kicks off in Portland starting tonight. The multi-day event is split between Portland and Yamhill wine country from January 15-18, and Eugene from January 23-25. Though most of the events are sold out, there are still a limited number of tickets still available for some events, including at-the-door entry to the Oregon Truffle Marketplace in Newberg on Sunday.
For the bored, the curious, the truffle fanatics, and the know-it-alls looking for food trivia ammo, we asked the founders of the festival, Charles Lefevre and Leslie Scott, for some totally not vital but eye-opening truffle facts and figures you can trot out at your next dinner party:
30: Number of truffle dogs in attendance for the Joriad North American Truffle Dog Championship.
130: That would be pounds of Oregon truffles slivered over dishes (not including truffles that the dogs find in the Joriad Championship and the Truffle Dog Training Seminar, and those that guests dig up on the seven different forest forays).
560+: Approximately how many dollars you'd have to spend for one pound of Oregon truffles.
1,000: Truffle species in North America, but only a few have real culinary value.
4: Species of the most famous "culinary truffles" in North America that grow in Oregon.
7: Orchards of inoculated truffle trees in the Pacific Northwest that have successfully produced European truffles.
60: How many pounds of Oregon truffles Eli Cairo of Olympic Provisions used to create the limited-edition truffle salumi or saucisson aux truffes.
20: Farms in North America that are beginning to produce European truffles.
Contributed by Kerry Newberry