The opening ceremonies of the Third Annual Napa Truffle Festival kicked off tonight with a slew of delectable wines and some tantalizing treats spotlighting… drumroll please… the prized Périgord black truffle.
La Toque’s fireplace-heated patio was filled to capacity with eager truffle hunters, intoxicated with their love for the Festival’s raison d’être. Robert Chang and Dr. Paul Thomas introduced the American Truffle Company and the amazing things that are possible with some land and a scientific approach to truffle cultivation, all over the world. Local, Napa-grown beverages like Silver Oak, Jaffe, and Beringer wines clinked in every glass as the guests started thinking about the possibilities.
But really, the night belonged to Tuber melanosporum. Foie gras mousse topped with Sauternes gelée and shaved truffle struck a perfect balance of savory, sweet, earthy, and sky-is-the-limit-don’t-question-me lusciousness. Tiny toasts of succulent, meaty duck rilletes crowned with a dollop of crème fraîche and shaved fresh truffle had my eyes rolling back in my head, instinctively focusing all available senses on the aroma, texture, and flavor of this single, spectacular mouthful.
But alas, these were just teasing appetizers for the weekend to come. Tomorrow the trufflefest begins in earnest, with Colman Andrews’ keynote, truffle cultivation seminars, a decadent truffle lunch at Silver Oak, truffle orchard tours, and the gourmand’s fantasy — a multi-course tasting menu prepared by four Michelin-starred chefs known for their truffle mastery.
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