When the air turns chilly, foodies with a bit of cash to burn think one thing: truffles. White truffles, in particular, found in the hills of Italy during the fall months (and usually with the help of trained pigs dubbed truffle hogs), are worth their weight in gold — okay, not quite, but this year’s crop is expected to fetch around $2,500 a pound. (Yes, you read that right!) These earthy, pungent tubers are so valuable — and so decadent and delicious — that the preferred way to appreciate the distinctive musky flavor (in, it must be said, an affordable serving size) is when the truffles are not cooked at all, but shaved in thin slices, atop something creamy, gooey, and mild in flavor — the better to allow an oh-so-slight serving of the truffles to take the starring role. (Generally, this is done tableside with great drama…and charged by the gram.)
So, where can you score a taste of these gems of the dirt? Well, El Encanto chef Patrice Martineau currently has in his possession a cache of white truffles fresh from Alba, Italy, and is offering a menu that works as a perfect backdrop for that priceless flavor. Try them — shaved tableside, natch — on mushroom risotto with asparagus and fontina, eggs cocotte with mushrooms, poached chicken and parmesan, or over fresh tagliatelle with Ellie’s cheese. And remember: Eat slowly, and savor every bite!
El Encanto will offer the white truffles for the next two months. Call 845-5800 for a reservation.