Truffle Lunch at Merryvale Delights

January 19, 2016 /

Guests dine by candlelight in Merryvale's Cask Room Truffle Lunch at Merryvale

Guests dine by candlelight in Merryvale’s Cask Room

The chef plating the first "fondue" course Truffle Lunch at Merryvale

The chef plating the first “fondue” course

Truffle Lunch at Merryvale

The fascinating striped carrot was a beautiful counterpart to the suckling pig and truffles in Barzelay’s carefully composed dish

Merryvale Vineyard’s Cask Room, lined with 100-year-old handmade 1,800-gallon barrels, was the spectacular setting for the Saturday Winery Truffle Lunch at the 2016 Napa Truffle Festival.

The beauty of the setting was matched by the exquisite four-course Truffle Lunch prepared by chef David Barzelay, chef/owner of Lazy Bear in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Barzelay’s technical mastery and inventive approach to food was evident from the first course — a bone marrow and aged cheddar “fondue” paired with baby lettuce leaves, radishes and bits of other raw and cooked vegetables to dip into the sauce. The dish was further enhanced by thin slices of truffle.

This was followed by smoked but otherwise barely cooked trout with smoked salmon roe, a “fudgy” egg yolk, chicory (and, of course, truffles), in a combination of delicious complexity.

The main course of suckling pig was no less delectable. As Barzelay described how he made the barber pole-striped carrots that accompanied it — wrapping orange carrots with thin strips of purple carrot that he first smoked to create a kind of carrot ham — diners got a glimpse into the outside-the-box creativity and meticulous preparation that have earned the chef his Michelin star.

The refreshing dessert, dubbed an “Earl Grey creamsicle” by the chef, was actually an ice cream-topped meringue disk with delicate slivers of bergamot, the citrus whose oil is used to flavor Earl Grey tea.

All four Truffle Lunch courses were paired with Merryvale’s limited production wines, adding even more luster to an unforgettable meal.