One of the things I really like about being a blogger is I’m considered a “member of the media”. It is an awesome designation in the sense that I get invited to things like previews and awesome events. One such preview happened yesterday, November 9, 2013 at Le Vigne winery. Owner and Chef, Walter Fillipini got in some rare white truffles from Italy, which he is using for an upcoming winemaker dinner on November 23, 2013.
October is the beginning of the very short white truffle season in Italy. Historically truffle hunters used special pigs to help find and dig up these little gems, but now a days they also use dogs to sniff them out because the pigs like to eat them too much. White truffles are highly aromatic, extremely expensive, quite rare, knuckle shaped mushrooms, that have been called “the diamonds in the kitchen”. In 2007 a world record price of $330,000 was paid at auction for a white truffle weighing 3.3 lb. On Saturday, Chef had an 8oz white truffle worth $2000 on display.
Chef Filippini is a classically trained Italian chef who was brought over from Italy, by famed Producer Dino Di Laurentiis to open up “DDL Food Show,” Italian food specialty stores located in New York and Beverly Hills in the 1980s. As we entered the barrel room at Le Vigne, Chef was standing behind a table with some hot plates making 2 dishes: a truffle infused cheese risotto, generously topped with freshly shaved white truffle, and a fried egg with cream also topped with shaved white truffle. He is extremely knowledgeable and explained step by step what he was doing as well as telling us about the wine dinner menu. Everything was delicious, the truffle was so interesting, and delicate in texture and flavor.They topped off the tasting with a rich, decadent, chocolate truffle handmade by Coco Suisse.
It was a wonderful opportunity and I feel lucky to have been included. The only suggestion I can add, is that if they do this again, I would’ve loved to have had a chance to do a sample pairing of the dishes with a couple selected wines, so we could have experienced the tasting more fully.
I was fortunate to get to spend some extra one on one time with Chef later while we were in the tasting room tasting wines with winemaker Michael. He explained to me that once a white truffle has been picked it should be consumed within 8-10 days, though the bigger the truffle the longer it will last; however it must be eaten immediately once it’s been shaved. He said the best way to store a white truffle is to wrap it in a Kleenex (that must be changed daily), which will help absorb humidity and moisture that will damage it and then place it in a sealed container. He was quick to tell me that it is a myth that putting a white truffle in uncooked rice will preserve it. The rice will actually wick away some of the delicate flavors out of the truffle if it is stored that way and thus also damage it.
I am so glad I got this amazing opportunity to taste something as rare and unique as a white truffle, and if the opportunity presents itself to you dear reader I highly recommend it. Speaking of an opportunity, there are still seats available for the winemaker white truffle dinner at Le Vigne Winery on November 23, 2013. If you are interested in attending this 5 course feast for the senses I highly recommend you contact the winery and reserve your spot. The menu sounds spectacular!!! My mouth is watering just writing about it!
“Whosoever says truffle, utters a grand word, which awakens erotic and gastronomic ideas….”
Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)
Stay tuned for my up coming blog on my wine tasting that same day at Le Vigne.