It seems wrong, with the economy having been in recession or on the verge of recession for so many months, to even think about the idea of eating a food as expensive as white truffles. But even the firebrands at Occupy Wall Street seem to be invested in the food they're eating. And it's October: the white truffle festival of Alba just started! It's time to revel in the perfume of the earth.
But wait: there's more to the economy than guilt. Not only does it feel wrong to ponder spending money on white truffles -- we actually can't afford to spend money on white truffles. How will we ever ring in the fall, if not with a $270 truffle-bedecked baked potato at the Four Seasons? (It's not even being served anymore.)
New Yorkers, at least, have access to a couple moderately-priced diners featuring the tuber magnatum. Locanda Verde's $49.99 Trufflepalooza is booked up already, but Sapori d'Ischia's weekly truffle dinners (slightly pricier at $60) still have openings. But for those with a more constrained budget, or for those residing in other cities, there are other options.
On Monday, we highlighted a subterranean delicacy, the caterpillar fungus, even more expensive than the white truffle. Today, we present seven alternatives that are far cheaper, but provide an experience that's similar in one respect or another. A warning: we listed the alternatives in descending order of proximity to the real deal. By the time you get to number seven, you won't be in Alba any more.