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food odyssey

Atayan - Sagada TruffleJuly 11, 2006 Friday

Atayan - Sagada Truffle

Steve Rogers asked me out for a quick ride to Kiltepan. Not what you might call your epic ride, but it made for a good workout. That in itself is all good. But something surprising happened along the way....he chanced on an atayan mushroom. The locals call it a mushroom but it didn't look like one. Instead of an umbrella shape, it looked like a potato with fragile string-like roots holding it to the ground - very much like a truffle...the stuff pigs sniff out under oak trees in Europe. If Steve didn't call my attention to it, I would simply have mistaken it for a rock. Seeing how excited I was, he just handed it over to me. What can I say? The guy's a class act.

Rubber Necking
From then on, I couldn't concentrate on the ride. I was focused on finding more atayans. It wasn't healthy though. At times, we'd be doing a technical part and I was still rubber necking for truffles. Fortunately, I found another one. That makes it 2 for the entire ride...woo-hoo!

Quack Quack!
I've long been fascinated by truffles but it seemed like stuff you see in magazine covers only - too pricey, too scarce and simply beyond reach...until now. Well, I'm calling it truffles. As Chef Aklay said, Atayans look like truffles, smell like truffles, taste like truffles, so he cooks them like truffles. I can't argue with it. If something quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then for crying out loud, it's a friggin' duck!

Brown on the outside, Black on the Inside
No, I'm not talking about Pinoy-wannabe-homeboys-in-the-hood. That how the truffle is. Slice it and you see black inside. It's robust and filling. Flavorwise, it's strong, bordering on pungent. Chef Aklay slices it paper-thin, tops it with bacon and eats it raw. As soon as I got home, I tossed in some pasta on the pan, sauteéd some etag, and once cooked, threw in slices of the truffle...voila! Pasta with atayan truffle dressing. You just can't beat that!

Ending Thoughts
This ride makes me think of Catherine the Great. She was expected to grace a Russian event. Instead, she gave them history. I was just out for a quick ride and I got a sweet ride + truffles. is indeed good. Sagada continues to reveal her secrets.

--- TheLoneRider

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