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Truffle Season!

2009/12/02

Everyone should get this little ditty in their head: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s the most wond-er-ful time of the yeeeeear!” That’s basically what I’ve been singing for the past five or six hours. Is it because it’s December and Christmas is near? Hell no! Then why, you ask? It’s truffle season! Specifically, winter truffle season. Summer truffles are a waste of time. They have little-to-no aroma or flavour and are therefore a complete waste of time (and money). Why not look forward to what is in my opinion one of the most special ingredients there is at their peak of the season?

For the past five years, I’ve prepared a truffle dinner for my Dad and some close friends. This coming weekend will bring the sixth edition. While I have many days of prep ahead, I made my way to the Cheese Boutique in the west end of the city to pick up the star ingredient. I’m not far off the mark in stating that a trip to CB is more like a pilgrimage to an epicurean mecca. It doesn’t matter how many times I go, it’s next to impossible to leave with just one item as there are so many fantastic products. Truffles are brought in every week, with black truffles from Umbria arriving on Wednesdays and white truffles from Alba on Thursdays. Afrim Pristine has followed in his father’s footsteps in the family business and selected two unbelievable (and quite large!) black truffles for me. Check it out (quarter added for scale purposes):

Tartufo Nero di Norcia - Fresh Black Truffles

Tartufo Nero di Norcia - Fresh Black Truffles

Tartufo Nero di Norcia - Fresh Black Truffles

Tartufo Nero di Norcia - Fresh Black Truffles!

The smaller of the two is about the size of a golf ball. The other one is a good bit larger. I’ve spent a large amount of time planning the menu and co-ordinating wine pairings with my buddy Manny. Here’s what’s on tap for the weekend:

Smoked Trout Brandade on Crostini

1999 Charles Ellner Champagne Brut Prestige

2006 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Roussanne

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Duck Confit and Fresh Black Truffle Risotto

1990 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino

1997 Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

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Roasted Filet of Beef, Swiss Chard, Truffle and Root Vegetable Infusion

1998 Pio Cesare Barbaresco Il Bricco

1998 Paolo Conterno Barolo Ginestra

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Sable Breton with Raspberries and Vanilla Cream

2003 La Tour Blanche Sauternes

I’m really looking forward to executing this menu. Some things are significantly more challenging than others. Not sure how many blog posts it will turn into, but you can count on an update or three with lots of photos!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. oakville_al permalink
    2009/12/04 9:58 AM

    Wow! Both menu & wines sound amazing. What time do you want me over for?
    I agree with your comments about the Cheese Boutique. Great place to take out of town guests (along with the St. Lawrence Market).

  2. futronic permalink*
    2009/12/04 6:01 PM

    Thanks Al! The table is full for tomorrow unfortunately, but I think we’re long overdue for some wine drinking.

    The St. Lawrence Market is excellent and I shop there regularly, but if you’re seriously looking for the creme-de-la-creme of products in this city, Cheese Boutique is in that upper echelon. Saturdays are a zoo there but they have lots of product samples going on those days. I think that’s the only place I will actually taste samples!

  3. 2009/12/08 2:58 PM

    How did the white CdP go with the fish mousse?

    Although a brandade isn’t typically made with truffles, is it a foolish question to ask if you added some? 🙂

    • futronic permalink*
      2009/12/08 3:01 PM

      The Champagne was killer with the brandade and the Beaucastel Blanc VV also worked well (but was mostly consumed on its own). The brandade was not made with truffles, only the risotto and the beef tenderloin dishes were. I’m swamped right now, but will start trying to post about the dinner and the results this week! There was more than enough truffle to go around. Let’s just say it was raining truffles and one person questioned whether the quantity was excessive. They were almost asked to leave.

  4. 2009/12/10 12:13 AM

    What recipe do you use for the brandade?

  5. futronic permalink*
    2009/12/10 9:19 AM

    It’s not terribly difficult. Smoked trout, shallots, cream, horseradish, salt, pepper. I’ll email it to you later.

  6. 2009/12/11 1:52 PM

    Just one last question on this… I have a recipe but am not fully happy with it (and want to tweak). I usually boil the fish (pre-puree) with spices for about 10 minutes, to help hydrate it and to infuse flavours other than smoke… for how long do you boil the fish – if at all?

  7. 2009/12/15 9:49 PM

    Holy crap. That is all I have to say about this, Jay. Well, that and I will clearly need some risotto ideas from you. Love the recap!

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  1. 6th Annual Truffle Dinner – Part 1 « Cellar and Table

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