Last Wednesday I attended an event at Kitchen Window (www.kitchenwindow.com) in Uptown, Minneapolis. The class was not about chocolate truffles, although that would have been awesome too. It was about the mushroom truffle. Often referred to as, “The diamond of the kitchen.”
The class was called, “Black Truffle Celebration.” It was a celebration indeed. Not only of the aromatic, mushroom, but I personally was reunited with old friends and colleagues. It was overwhelmingly exciting and with over $100 worth of truffle in my (very full) belly and the warm feeling from all of the caring embraces and genuine smiles, the event was “priceless”. I have the cheesiest grin on my face as I write this at a local coffee shop and another patron just caught me and gave me a, “should I smile back or is she just crazy” look.
I also heard from both of the event presenters that the event was a kick-off for Kitchen Window and Urbani Truffles as they will be partnering to make the truffle available to the general public when they are fresh and right off the plane. Stay tuned. You could be eating truffles and eggs for breakfast.
You may have been lucky enough to have ordered a meal with shaved truffles if in season or truffle butter or oil when not and unless they are in season the amount of fresh truffle in Minnesota is going to be minimal.
They certainly didn’t pass around a small basket of fresh picked truffles for your eyes only. Yes, they have a presence, especially when in season, so don’t get me wrong. Right now, the Black Winter and Fresh Bianchetti are in season. From the truffles I was able to see and taste each was about the size of an ice cube, tater tot or one of those bouncy balls you can buy for a quarter. Whichever is easiest to relate to. Yes, I did purchase that bouncy ball out of an upright toy dispenser for a quarter. At the Cinema Cafe.
The event itself was a demonstration by Urbani Truffles (urbani.com) very own Amanda Dentici whose family is, well, Italian. She has a degree in the culinary arts and grew up in and around the restaurant business, but jumped at the chance to become an advocate and expert in all things truffle. Urbani Truffles gets first dibs in Italy with some of the most prominent truffle farms and controls over 70% of the worlds truffle traffic. They make oil, salt, butter, sauce, etc. Most recently, I was able to taste a bbq, curry, chili, mustard and ketchup. Admittedly, when I first went to taste the sauces I thought, “why on earth would you add truffle to an already potent, full flavor and bold product such as BBQ or curry?” Um…well…as I tasted them, I also looked around to ensure I didn’t say that out loud as the flavor profile pranced around in my mouth. The curry, for example, maintained the distinct flavors it yields and is known for and then, I realized the curry was dancing with an award-winning partner and there it was, curry and truffle doing the lambada, in my mouth.
Prior to this dance were the cha cha, the salsa and waltz as I tasted truffle dishes throughout the evening being prepared by our very own Minneapolis based, Ben McCallum, Executive Chef of Three Sons Signature Cuisine (www.threesonssignature.com).
He is one of my favorite local chefs, not only in food knowledge, but in style of presentation, relaxed and fun and his overall presence exudes approachability. He often sings his ingredients while cooking in front of a class and I don’t think he knows it.The dishes we watched being prepared were a truffled white bean tapenade on molasses butter canapé, wild mushroom duxelle (sautéed mushroom dish that has been deglazed) with grilled focaccia and shaved Pecorino Romano, pan-seared chicken on tagliatelle pasta (freshly made in class) with truffle bacon cream sauce.
My favorite was the chicken with truffle bacon cream sauce, unforgettable. My mouth is watering. Again.
1. Truffles are in the tuber family, grow like a potato, mostly around chestnut and oak trees
2. Grown mainly in Italy, but also found in France and Croatia
3. Certain types and in-season truffles can yield over $5,000 per pound
4. Types: Black Winter, Fresh Bianchetti, Fresh White, Fresh Summer and Fresh Burgundy
5. The Fresh White Truffle is the most sought after and most expensive
6. The price of a truffle is based on both availability and flavor profile
7. Truffles need to attach to a protein to enhance the flavor (milk, butter, oil, fat)
8. Synthetic versions of truffle oil are actually made with propane gas. Say what?!
9. 4oz. of Black Truffle it is about $399 USD. (Approx. 7-9) 4 oz. of Bianchetti is about $169 USD. (Approx. 10-12)
10. A person can obtain 2-3 servings from 1oz. of truffle
Follow me for some of my very own truffle recipes.
Up next…buying, cooking and eating rabbit, locally sourced.
“Whatever it is you are looking for, I hope you can eat it.”