How White Truffle Season Marks the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
My wife loves white truffles. And the few times we’ve tasted them—during their brief appearance in late fall and early winter—they’ve been the highlight of the meal. Last Christmas, weighing the cost of ordering a truffle supplemental at a restaurant, we decided to splurge instead on ordering a couple of ounces of Alba truffles from a premium supplier and tried shaving truffles at home. Here’s how to get the most delicious return on your truffle investment.
Plan ahead to get the most bang for your truffle buck.
Create a few simple, indulgent meals paced throughout the holidays. For me, that means wisps of truffle melting over soft scrambled eggs with Champagne for Christmas Eve brunch, homemade White Truffle Tagliolini for Christmas dinner, risotto, or truffle arancini as passed appetizers at a holiday party. Here’s how to source, slice, and serve.
Do the Truffle Math
A white Alba truffle supplemental at a restaurant may run anywhere from $100 to $200 per person. By ordering directly from a supplier, the same extravagant experience can be had for around $125 per ounce, or $30 per serving. (Pricing varies from season to season.)
Order white truffles from a premium supplier, like Rare Tea Cellar or Regalis Foods. Plan to purchase at least two ounces, which should guarantee a single round, plump truffle that is big enough to slice. When they arrive, they will be wrapped in paper towels and sealed in plastic. Rewrap them in fresh paper towels and store them in a ziplock plastic bag, or set the truffle in a glass jar filled with Arborio rice, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Shaving truffles at the table is the big moment of the meal. A serving of Alba truffles is about 1/4 ounce, and it should be shaved directly onto piping hot food that has been placed in front of your guest. A serrated slicer is preferable to a flat blade—it will slice the truffles evenly, and it has undulating ridges that help release the truffle’s intoxicating, musky aroma. The serrated blade also allows the truffle to be shaved thinly enough so the slices melt on your tongue.
As a rule of thumb, incorporate Alba truffles into rich foods that are soft-textured and plainly seasoned. Noodles, polenta, eggs, and risotto are all perfect vehicles for white truffles. When preparing the dishes, be restrained in your use of acid, spice, or salt. Instead, focus on developing creamy textures that will coat your palate, carrying and matching the heady, earthy fragrance of the truffle.