Amuse Bouche: Michael and Marco Pietroiacovo

We asked the “Truffle Brothers” behind most of L.A.’s truffle supply, why are these fungi so expensive?

Illustration by Jason Lee

Michael:  “It’s something you can’t reproduce. People can reproduce a potato, an apple, everything. Truffles you just have to find in the natural way.”

When did you start hunting? 
Marco: “When I was 7 back in Italy, my brother [then 13] and I went together with my grandfather.  Right then I bonded with the truffles.”

Marco: “Yes, I like everything about them.  I love white truffles, black summer truffles, winter truffles… Shaved on top of tagliatelle or risotto. On meat too—and eggs. Or on carpaccio.”

What’s the biggest truffle you’ve ever found? 
Michael: “It was one kilo. And I found one last year that was 700 grams. Truffles grow with the moon. When it’s full, you can find a lot of truffles.

Where do your truffles come from?
Marco: “Our region, which is called Molise. It’s between Rome and Naples, and it provides most of the world’s white truffles.”

Do you still use pigs to find them? 
Michael: “No, no—pigs eat the truffles. A dog you can train to stop when he finds it. The pig just wants to eat it.”