By Arnold Gatilao from Fremont, CA, USA (Risotto with White Truffles from Alba) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Tis the season for fresh Alba white Italian truffles (trifola d’Alba). I have experienced the hopeful hunt with truffle-searching dogs to find them and have attended the exciting Tartufo Bianco D’Alba with the 84th one just held October 11-November 16. They were so aptly described by Brillat-Savarin as “the diamond of the kitchen”. I agree. So fortunate and spoiled to have been treated to these jewels many times over the last month. They are one of my joys of life so I always seek them out in the late Fall of each year. So different from all the other truffles including the black truffles usually from Perigord France which are better cooked. Alba white truffles have a delicate earthy unique aroma that evokes the enchantment you usually only feel from a perfectly aged fine wine. A good trick is to put a big one under a fruit ripening dome at your reception and concentrate the magical aromas for everyone in the room when the lid is lifted. I love them by themselves or with any food item. However recently I feel strongly that they are being overused with too many food matches. Recently I was served them shaved over poached sole in beurre blanc, spicy agnolotti with chanterelle mushrooms, prime New York strip, and twice with braised short ribs of beef. Please get the most out of these treasures by serving them with simpler dishes that are less assertive themselves. I still recommend risotto, pasta or a plain omelette as the very best pairings! Follow the educated lead from Alba itself by serving them with home made many yolk tajarin (like a tagliatelle) for best enjoyment of this remarkable product.
What is your best matching dish with fresh Alba white truffles?
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Hi Sid, Bill and I just returned from Italy after joining Jack & Simone Rubyn of the Marin County branch (& 13 other IWFS members) for their excellent white truffle trip to Alba. Jack provides access to food and wine experiences which most can only imagine.
Walking into the truffle fair and hitting the pungent aroma of the white truffles is an incredibly memorable experience and I urge any and all to visit Alba, especially during truffle season.
I completely agree with you re food choices: the simpler, the better. Cathy Kuhlman
Thanks for your note Cathy. So topical to get your amazing impressions of “pungent aromas of the white truffles” at this year’s Alba Fair. It is “an incredibly memorable experience” for sure. Appreciate your confirmation that simpler foods show off the truffles to best advantage. Enjoy the festive season.
Sid, I agree with both you and Cathy. I got my first experience with white truffles on one of Jack Rubyn’s trips to the White Truffle Festival in Alba. Although that trip was 2007, it is still the best food and wine experience I have ever had. And like you and Cathy, words can’t quite adequately express the sensation of being in a restaurant when the lid of a covered glass bowl of white truffles is removed to slice them over a poached egg, pasta or risotto dish. The aroma literally explodes over the entire dining room. There is absolutely nothing else in the food world as dramatic! And once you have experienced it, nothing else can substitute for that experience. WImberly Miree