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No One Knows the Truffle I've Seen.....


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Happened to have a nice large black truffle that looked like it needed eating so we did an impromptu wine dinner to match it.

2004 Dom. Fouassier Sancerre Les Romains – this was a rather rich sauvignon blanc with mineral nose, good flavour level, and crisp finish.

It went well with the starter which was cream cheese and hazelnuts stuffed in figs and dates which had been soaked in Marsala, all wrapped in shinkenspeck and roasted lightly in the oven. The shinkenspeck seems to give a tastier (and less salty) result than the conventional prosciutto.

Next up was the first truffle course – angel-hair pasta al dente dresses simply with butter and a little white wine, served with shaved black truffle. We continued the Sancerre through this and it went quite well.

The next course was sweetbreads in a cream sauce with mushrooms and sherry and anointed with the other half of the shaved truffle.

The wine we chose was Italian (yes, I know – Italy=white truffle, France=black truffle, but I was in an Italian mood).

1993 Marchesi di Gresy Villa Martis – this modest blend of Nebbiolo and Barbera was definitely getting toward the end of its life. The colour was pale and bricky at the edges, though a nice garnet through the middle. Fruit was still there if abated somewhat and the finish was excessively acidic – until we tried it with food! The pasta tamed the wine nicely and the whole was definitely greater than the parts.

Finally, we had a beef Stroganoff made from prime rib served on a potato pancake. For this I chose:

1992 Gaja Sito Moresco - in keeping with my theme of mature Nebbiolo blends, this wine includes a significant proportion of merlot and cabernet. Normally considered an early drinking wine and in this case from an indifferent vintage, 13 years was a real test of longevity, even from a cool cellar. I am happy to say that the wine came through better than I could have expected – dark, with some tar and roasted dark fruit in the nose, the berry fruit of youth now gone, but replaced with more leather and very soft tannin and just the right amount of acidity at the end. Great combination with the food, and we continued it on into the cheese course.

I think that this exercise proves that the optimum number of people required to properly appreciate a whole black truffle is two!

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